From time to time during the 2012 season, the Cowboys were interested in extending quarterback Tony Romo’s contract, even though it doesn’t expire until March 2014. Romo’s camp resisted, realizing that owner Jerry Jones merely was hoping to buy low.
Now that Romo is preparing to carry a $16.8 million salary-cap charge into the last year of his contract, Jones isn’t hoping simply to buy low but to buy a lower cap number.
Still, as Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com reports, talks on a new deal haven’t begun.
It’s not a surprise. The Cowboys have made clear their desire to keep Romo, and Romo has no reason to do (another) below-market deal as he closes in on what likely will be the last big payday of his career. As Ross Tucker explained last week on PFT Live, Romo instantly would become the league’s highest paid player if he were a free agent right now.
So why not wait it out?
The other dynamic at play here is the fact that Romo is represented by CAA, which represents several starting quarterbacks who will be getting paid soon. Last year, CAA client Drew Brees nudged the bar higher than ever for quarterbacks with a five-year, $100 million deal, $61 million of which he’ll earn in the first three years. With the Falcons interested in extending CAA client Matt Ryan and with the Lions more desperate than they’ll admit to shrink CAA client Matthew Stafford’s cap number down from $20.8 million, the smart move for Romo could be to wait and see what those two guys get before doing his own deal.
As long as Romo is willing to bear the risk of a serious injury in 2013, there’s no reason to do anything other than cash $11.5 million worth of checks this year and push his way to market, or at least to the exclusive franchise tag.
Unless, of course, the Cowboys give him many million more reasons to do otherwise.
And if/when he signs a new contract, hopefully he’ll be able to afford a better hat. Or at least to get one that comes with a free bowl of soup.