It sounds pretty official. Everybody is reporting that Tony Romo will officially retire and choose to go into broadcasting. The expectation is the Cowboys will release him and spread the cap hit over two years. Here’s how ESPN terms it:
Dallas is expected to designate Romo as a post-June 1 release, softening the blow against the Cowboys' cap this season. Instead of counting $24.7 million in 2017, Romo would count $10.7 million this year and $8.9 million in 2018. The Cowboys would gain $14 million in cap space, but it would not become available until June 2. But after Tuesday, Romo will no longer be with the Cowboys.
Romo's decision came down to his health, sources close to the situation told ESPN. Romo, who turns 37 on April 21, believes his family and his health are paramount at this time in his life.
Sounds pretty settled. NBC, CBS and Fox are all said to be pursuing him for color commentary this season. But is it really all over? Pro Football Talk is running an item that posits that may not be the case.
For weeks, a sense has persisted in league circles that, if Romo chooses broadcasting, he’ll negotiate his contract to allow for a return to football during the season.
If that’s the approach, it would be an acknowledgement that Romo can’t make it through a full season, but an indication that he could be intrigued by the possibility of sliding into the right situation, if an untimely injury to a starter on a contending team opens the door for an attempt to take a contender deep into the postseason.
If that turns out to be the case, then there are some interesting contractual issues at play. If the Cowboys outright release Romo to get cap relief, then he would be a free agent and he would be able to sign with any team. But if the Cowboys think he might do something like that, they could hold on to him.
To properly lay the foundation for such a move, Romo needs to be released by the Cowboys. If they would instead place him on the reserve/retired list, he’d first need to get them to release him if/when he wants to return. And if he wants to return because a team develops a sudden need for his services, the Cowboys may choose at that point to try to get something in return for his rights.
If it was just PFT saying this, it would be easy to dismiss outright. But other unnamed sources are suggesting it.
One NFL executive, however, told ESPN via text message that "Romo is now every team's emergency backup QB in case your starter gets hurt" and that those teams would have to "pay him to come out of 'retirement.'"
Hopefully this isn’t the case at all. This should be a clean break and Romo should just retire to broadcasting and give up the game. If it is truly his health he is worried about, then don’t risk it by trying to come back mid-season.