Tony Romo was a great quarterback and could be an even better analyst, but he’s not a very good B.S. artist, yet. (All due respect.)
The idea that the Cowboys cut Romo so that he wouldn’t have to repay $5 millions in bonus money doesn’t hold water. If Romo had retired, the Cowboys wouldn’t have been required to collect a penny.
Last year, running back Marshawn Lynch retired from the Seahawks, but the Seahawks didn’t require him to pay back (coincidentally) $5 million in previously-paid bonus money. The difference, however, is that with Lynch now considering a return, he has to navigate the reality that the Seahawks still hold his rights. Romo, by getting released, didn’t have to do that.
A similar thing happened three years ago, when the Falcons released tight end Tony Gonzalez because he had failed to retire before a major bonus payment was due under his contract. While Gonzalez never retired, getting an outright release would have made it much easier for Gonzalez to come back, if he’d ever decided to do so.
For Romo, why not have maximum flexibility? It’s understandable that he wouldn’t discuss possibly returning to play while he’s launching a broadcasting career, but it’s also accurate that today’s roster move gives Romo a much clearer and easier way to return, if he ever wants to.
The release allows the Cowboys to spread the cap charge arising from Romo’s departure over two years. And if that were the stated reason for the action, it would have made a lot more sense. Tying the decision to a desire to give Romo $5 million in free money doesn’t make sense, and it’s hard not to wonder whether Romo is at least keeping his options open.
If he is, it’s hard to blame him. Even if Romo never comes back, he should engineer the cleanest and simplest path toward doing so.