Before I come off sounding like a greedy or heartless individual; Tony Romo continues to be my favorite Dallas Cowboy to ever lace up a pair of cleats. With that said, the Cowboys don’t owe Tony Romo a thing and by releasing him early; the “Do Right Rule” is seemingly one-sided in favor of the former four-time Pro Bowl quarterback.
There’s an affinity between the Jones’ family and Tony Romo that you can see anytime one of them speaks about the other. There is a strong bond of love there for the first post-Aikman quarterback that took the franchise out of the depths of despair into becoming an annual contender. Both parties wanted this departure to be as amicable as possible. For that, we won’t dock them a single point.
However, the NFL is a business and for a guy who “loves to deal in ambiguity”, Jerry Jones is missing in action on this one. No asset is ever worth losing for nothing at all. Yes, Tony Romo is going to be 37-years-old. Tony Romo hasn’t played a full season’s worth of football in four seasons. Still, Tony Romo has value.
It’s no coincidence that Romo will be sought after by numerous teams when his release becomes official. Whether it’s the Broncos, Texans, Chiefs, or a Saskatchewan Roughriders (no offense, Vince Young); the Cowboys should have gained their leverage back. It’s understandable to want and “do right” by each other but what about maximizing the potential to earn something in return?
All we’ve been fed over the past few weeks is how it’s “best for Romo” if the Cowboys release him sooner rather than later, so he can get signed by a team and be ready for the offseason program. When Jerry Jones spoke of “ambiguity” over the weekend, he made you think that the team was going to do what’s best for the team AND Romo. This release will save the Cowboys another $5 million the minute he’s cut and $14 million on June 2nd.
It’s not like this release is going to help the Cowboys go out and sign someone of significance right off the bat. The Cowboys have $9.3 million in cap space to sign guys like Brice Butler or J.J. Wilcox. Tomorrow, they will be up to $14.4 million but that still won’t be enough to keep guys they really want to keep. Barring a change of heart, Barry Church is out the door for $6 million per season for the next four years; Terrell McClain is not far behind him. By the time the Cowboys see the majority of those savings; free agency will be a distant memory.
For the record, I’m all on-board with what Stephen Jones says about free agency. You don’t want to pay B players like A players and certainly not C players like B players. The qualms with releasing Romo all stem from not being able to at least wait and see if you’ll get a pick next year or who knows if someone would bite before the draft?
Folks will point out that the Cowboys had no choice but to release Tony Romo as they weren’t going to get anything from him. That’s not entirely true, eventually; someone would need the services of a guy like Tony Romo. This is a quarterback-driven league and if you have one, you got a chance, without one, you’re dead in the water. The Chicago Bears are ready to throw $15 million at Mike Glennon, let that sink in.
The Vikings thought they were contenders for a championship and gave up a first-round and fourth-round pick for the oft-injured Sam Bradford. You don’t think holding Romo for a little bit wouldn’t net them something? Sure, that would mean telling your former franchise quarterback to sit tight but didn’t Jerry say that Romo deals in ambiguity just as well, so what gives?
Tony Romo will now be free to sign anywhere he pleases and he’s given the Cowboys 14 years of his life and broken many bones along the way. He’s the ultimate class act and deserves to the treatment of someone who will one day be in the Ring of Honor. The problem is that this seems a bit hurried and it wouldn’t have made much a difference to being more patient with this.
Romo is Romo and his availability would come with suitors no matter the time it would come. This isn’t the strongest draft class for quarterbacks, with no clear-cut QB1 prospect. The market is filled with guys like Brian Hoyer and Jay Cutler. When a guy like Tony Romo becomes available, ears will perk up. That’s why it just seems a bit early to give him up for nothing.
Say what you want about his injury history or there being no market for him; don’t buy into that mess. There is always a market for a four-time Pro Bowler at the most important position in all of professional sports. The bottom line is that Romo is a valuable asset and nothing of value is worth giving away freely. The NFL is a bottom-line business and it’s a mistake to release Romo at this juncture with nothing in return.