"He's got a high tolerance for ambiguity," Jones said. "I've got a high tolerance for ambiguity. We just don't have to have this figured as to the ultimate solution for really quite a while here." –Jerry Jones, March 4th, 2017
Jerry Jones told everyone at the Combine that this might take a moment but folks thought he was full of it. The fact is that during the draft season, you’ll get more out of Jerry than you ever would during the season. Something about him relaxing in his luxury bus gets him ready to tell all if you’ll just listen.
It truly doesn’t matter what is being fed to media types from Adam Schefter to Mike Fisher; the front office is playing the waiting game with Tony Romo. And though some folks have personal feelings involved; it’s the right move by the Dallas Cowboys.
It’s not even a week into free agency but the narrative that the Cowboys have to release Tony Romo is what dominates the headlines. We’ll answer this again; no they absolutely don’t have to release anyone presently. As far as we’re concerned, they are under the cap and will receive about $5 million more when the retirement of Doug Free is official. What is the point in releasing Romo at this juncture?
Why? So teams like the Houston Texans, who just found a dumpster that was willing to eat Brock Osweiler’s contract, can add him to compete for a Super Bowl next year? Or perhaps it’s the Denver Broncos, who have “lost so much ground” to the New England Patriots? Maybe it’s just some media types that are ready to know where Tony will be playing next year and have had their columns in the queue since Wednesday.
The NFL is a business first and everything else second. In fact, it takes us back to 2008, when HBO Hard Knock recorded Jerry Jones speaking to the team:
“Let me divulge the five rules of business to all of you. One, ask for the money upfront. And come to think of it, I’ve forgotten the other four.”
It shouldn’t be this hard to figure out that Romo and the Cowboys are looking for the best possible option for both to part ways. Dallas wants something in return and so they are being treated as the villain to Romo by some in the media, a person whom they have paid north of $125 million to over his career. He’s been well compensated for his time in Dallas and they don’t owe it to him to flat out cut bait with nothing to show for it. At this point, if they get a fifth-round pick for him, it’ll be worth it for someone everyone perceived to be released.
Right now, no team wants to discuss trading any capital for Tony and that’s well and good but it’s only March. You better believe that if he were released, he’d be a commodity that a few teams would be trying to woo for his services. There are only a handful of good quarterbacks in the entire league and the Cowboys have two of them. Just because nobody wants to play ball right now doesn’t mean that won’t change in due time.
Despite being 37-years old when the season begins, or the fact that he hasn’t played a full season in four years; he’s fifth All-time in passer rating, fourth for active passers, is 78-49 as a starter with 248 touchdown passes to 117 interceptions. He’s a four-time Pro Bowler and when healthy led the league in passer rating and completion for any quarterback who hasn’t won the Super Bowl. There are only two guys above him in those categories right now; Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. Somewhere, there is a market for that type of talent.
Then there is this little issue with Tony Romo’s contract:
One thing people have missed -- Romo's deal is VERY tradeable. $14M for 2017. And basically team options for '18 ($19.5M) and '19 ($20.5M). https://t.co/VC46vesy0E— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 9, 2017
Romo’s contract is being sported as the reason why a trade won’t facilitate but keep in mind that those two years at the end are voidable. This was talked over and over again when Romo was signed to that $108 million deal. There is also the distinct possibility of re-working a deal that can become even more tradeable if the two sides decide to.
What you hear right now is a classic game of chicken, all it takes is one team to feel like they would have to compete for him on the open market and a deal will surface. There are two teams that so obviously want to have him but they want him for nothing and that doesn’t suit the Dallas Cowboys. With the dire need of a quarterback to even compete, Romo’s value is higher than some want you to believe.
As good as their defenses may be, the Broncos aren’t winning a Lombardi with Trevor Siemian. Similarly, you can bet the house that Houston sure as heck isn’t winning one with Tom Savage and Brandon Weeden.
Deadlines create deals and there are no deadlines right now to deal. The draft is coming up but zero of those quarterbacks are poised to start in year one with Deshaun Watson perhaps the closest. In essence, three things will happen, someone will pony up a pick, Tony Romo will retire and pursue other avenues, or the Cowboys will re-visit a release closer to the June 1st designation deadline. As we’ve said over and over, nothing of value is worth giving away freely. Strap in, it may be a while before anything materializes.