The Dallas Cowboys have been interested for months in extending the contract of franchise quarterback Tony Romo. And after months of dragging their feet, it appears that Romo’s camp at least is willing to listen.
Cowboys executive V.P. Stephen Jones tells 105.3 The Fan in Dallas that talks aimed at adding years to Romo’s deal — and in turn reducing his $16.8 million cap number for 2013 — have commenced.
“We have a great quarterback and he deserves to be paid,’’ Jones said. “We have a good quarterback and we want to reward him. He’s in the last year of a contract and our goal is to not let the quarterback run out of contract.’’
For now, Jones characterizes the talks as “informal.” And in the hopes of making them more formal, Jones appears to be trying to lay the salary-cap guilt trip on Romo.
“I think on this particular situation with Tony is we think we have a great quarterback and we want him to be our quarterback here for the next four to five years,” Jones said. “When you have a good one and you’re fortunate enough to have a good one, then he’s going to take up the biggest part of your cap space, so you have to be partners with one another and you have to do things. No one wants to win more, no one wants to have success more than Tony. He knows in order to do that we have to manage our cap and he plays a big part in that because the percentage of the cap that he takes.’’
Romo’s current deal can’t be “restructured” because there’s only one year left on it. The cap number will drop only if the parties extend the deal to cover future years. But Romo has no reason to extend the contract without receiving a large chunk of cash.
When the Cowboys wanted to talk contract during the 2012 season, Romo’s reps resisted, sensing that the team simply wanted to buy low. And the Cowboys may still try to low ball Romo, whose leverage increases with the jump in his cap number.
If Romo is willing to shoulder the risk of injury, he can ride out the final year of his deal, forcing the Cowboys to use the franchise tag in 2014. Based on his 2013 cap number, it would cost the Cowboys $20.16 million to keep him next season.
For that reason, Romo should be seeking a minimum guaranteed payment of $36.96 million, which is the sum of what he’ll make over the next two seasons.
Adding a third season to that package, and Romo’s pay for 2015 under the franchise tag would be $24.192 million. That pushes his three-year haul to more than $61 million.