Tony Romo has retired after one of the greatest careers ever for a player who entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent. The Cowboys were the team that signed him after all seven rounds of the draft passed without Romo’s name being called, but things could have unfolded very differently.
Romo told Peter King of TheMMQB.com that it was actually the Cardinals who were offering him the most money, and the Broncos who were offering him the clearest path to making the 53-man roster.
“I actually wanted to go to Denver a little bit more, I felt like I had a better chance of making the roster,” Romo said. “The money . . . Arizona, I believe, offered the most, probably around $20,000 or $25,000, which was like being rich at that time. Denver came in and they were like 15 to 20 but they also had Mike Shanahan who I had strong respect for, and obviously the Cowboys came in. It was Mike Shanahan on one side and then Bill Parcells on the other. Sean [Payton] would call in and then eventually he passed the phone to Jerry [Jones], so you went through the whole gamut.”
It was Payton, then the Cowboys’ quarterbacks coach, who connected with Romo because they both went to Eastern Illinois and sealed the deal for Romo to go to Dallas. And Romo said that ultimately, his gut told him that being with Parcells, Payton and Jones was the right place for him to be. Even if the money would have been better elsewhere.