Tony Romo is in no mood to discuss the reported 10-year, $180 million contract he just signed with CBS. But he will discuss the importance of demanding what you’re worth.
“I’m not going to go into detail with the contract stuff,” Romo told Graham Bensinger. “I just don’t like talking about contract stuff.”
Romo then offered an example of a contract he would talk about: The one he signed with the Cowboys before the 2006 season. At that point, Romo had been with the Cowboys for three years but had never thrown a pass in a regular-season game. The Cowboys thought they could get Romo to sign an extension for a $500,000 signing bonus, but Romo demanded a $2 million signing bonus and got it.
“Jerry Jones and Bill Parcells sit me down right before a preseason game,” Romo recalled. “They’re like, ‘We need you to sign this deal for $500,000.’ I’m making the league minimum, $250,000 or so. I told them, ‘The only way you’ll play me is if you have something invested in me that makes you want to see if I’m worth it.’ I told them $2 million. ‘For that, I feel like you’ll want to put me in a game to see.’ Believe me, I didn’t want to do it. It was as nerve-wracking a situation as I’ve ever been in.”
Romo said that Jones and Parcells agreed, and he got his $2 million signing bonus.
“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh I’m the richest guy in the world. I just got $2 million,'” Romo said.
Romo learned years later that Jones and Parcells were impressed with his moxie, and liked that he was willing to stand up for himself and demand what he thought he was worth. Romo remembered that lesson this year, and demanded that CBS pay him what he’s worth as well.