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Cowboys negotiating with Romo; Romo making them sweat

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JJT has new article about the Cowboys up at The Sporting News. It's a pretty good rundown on some of the things that happened at camp, but nothing you didn't already know, except for this piece of news that he slipped into a paragraph.

The Cowboys entered the preseason wanting to get Romo eight or nine quarters of action, so coach Bill Parcells could give owner Jerry Jones a firm answer on where Romo fits into the Cowboys quarterback hierarchy. Romo will be a free agent at the end of the season and the Cowboys are currently discussing a long-term contract with him. The Cowboys have offered a three-year deal, while Romo wants a one-year deal.

That's a pretty interesting strategy Romo is taking. Let's break it down. Romo could either (a) not sign a new deal and become a free agent at year's end (b) sign a long-term deal like 3 years or more, or (c) sign a one-year deal.

Option (a): Romo probably doesn't want to do this because it leaves him with no deal in place for next year, and there's no way to know if he'll get a chance to play this year. He's got a little buzz going from the preseason game, but probably not enough to land him a serious shot at being a starter for another team. And if the Cowboys don't sign him to a new deal they have very little incentive to actually play him this year, if they really have any ideas about playing him anyway. They would just be showing him off for the league, and drive up the cost to try and re-sign him. Plus, he would have no security if he gets hurt or if he does play and ends up being awful.

Option (b): If he signs a long-term deal, then he has no leverage if the Cowboys want to continue with Bledsoe as the starter over the next couple of years. He'll be stuck with being a #2 QB until the Cowboys decide otherwise. He would also be stuck at backup money even if they do decide to elevate him to #1 at some point in the future.

Option (c): If he gets a one-year deal, then he kind of puts the Cowboys in a bind. If they don't think Bledsoe is going to be the answer after this year, then they would probably turn to Romo next year. He gets one year to show what he can do, and if he plays well, the Cowboys will have to renegotiate his contract and pay him a lot more money than he would get as the backup. Or he could wait until the end of that season and hit the open market as starter material and create a bidding war.

Smart strategy by Romo, the Cowboys really need to decide what they want to do with him long-term. If they think he's the answer, they need to give him the one-year deal or give him pseudo-starter money for a long-term contract. Even that may not satisfy Romo because as much as he would want the money, he probably really wants a shot at being a starter.