Depending upon which report(s) you believe, Tony Romo is, or isn’t, retiring from football. Some are trying to tiptoe on the tightrope between declaring that he’s done vs. done for now, and for good reason.
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.
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.
Then there’s the potential complication that would arise from a return after the trade deadline. At that point, Romo would be subject to waivers — which means that any other team could squat on his contract and keep him from going where he wants to go.
So a free and clear release makes sense for Romo. It also makes sense for the Cowboys, since it would allow the cap charge to be spread over two years. Still, what makes sense and what actually happens have at times been at odds in this saga, so there’s no reason to try to predict with certainty where this roller coaster is heading next.