It’s been a strange few months for the Cowboys and quarterback Tony Romo. The past few weeks, starting with the team telling him on a Wednesday that he’ll be released before changing its mind the next day, have been particularly odd.
The apparent disconnect between the Cowboys and Romo became even more apparent in the past 24 hours, with the team on Monday opening the door for Romo to visit with and/or work out for other teams and with Romo on Tuesday slamming the door on playing — unless he hasn’t.
Next, the Cowboys presumably will cut him. That’s the way to take his total cap hit of $19.6 million and split it into $10.7 million this year and $8.9 million in 2018. (If that’s what they do, they’ll have to carry the full cap hit until June 1, at which time they’ll push $8.9 million to next year.)
But what if, in this crazy, convoluted, little-kicks dance the Cowboys decide to throw one more eephus pitch? What if the Cowboys seize on the reports that Romo is retiring and place him on the reserve/retired list?
Last year, the Seahawks eventually did that with running back Marshawn Lynch even though he never officially informed the team of his retirement. Instead, he tweeted a photo of cleats hanging over a line with a deuces emoji, and the team took it from there.
If the Cowboys do that with Romo, they’ll continue to control his rights. Which means that, if someone wants him badly enough later in the year, they’ll have to deal with the Cowboys first.
Yes, Romo could challenge the designation. But would he? He has avoided public confrontations with the team so far, and he would be required to very publicly disclose his plans if the team retires Romo and Romo tries to dispute it.
For the Cowboys, the downside would be taking the full cap charge in 2017. The upside would be having dibs on Romo in the event Dak Prescott gets injured — and in turn having the ability to trade him later, if another quarterback from another team goes down.
Whatever happens, the one thing we’ve come to expect between the Cowboys and Romo is the unexpected. The team placing him on the reserve/retired list definitely would fall into that category.