Love him or hate himÂ—the Dallas Cowboys need him. Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones will have a hefty contract for Tony Romo, who will retire a Cowboy. Since taking the reins from Drew Bledsoe during the 2006 season, Romo has been hailed as both hero and villain; riding a roller coaster of a career that has had more ups and downs; twists and turns, and loop the loops then can be found in any amusement park.
If contracts were based on championships alone, there's a good chance that Drew Brees would be ring-less. Brees' career since he left San Diego is probably first and foremost on Jerry Jones' mind. There's a mighty good chance that were Romo given his notice he would be picked up before the sun went down. There are a few teams that are just a good quarterback away from a championship run; a quarterback with Romo's credentials would be given not only the red carpet treatment, but the salary to go with it.
Romo's contract officially expires in 2016. After 2013 the remaining years are voidable; nobody sees the end of such contracts. So it's for purely financial reasons that Jones is pushing to put something down on paper. Allowing Romo to play out the rest of his contract would put around $40 million in his wallet. Neither Jerry Jones nor Tony Romo expects that to happen. The cap hit alone over the course of those 3 years would be devastating.
There have been reported talks between player and owner, but nothing written in stone. In the past where it has been Jones dragging his feet, drawing out negotiations, it's not so this time; the longer Romo is allowed to play with out signing papers the higher his stock goes up. It's a double-edged sword for Jones; he wants his team and quarterback to play wellÂ—well enough to make a deep playoff run, but at the same time, the better the Cowboys play, the more valuable Romo becomes.
At 32, some believe Romo's career is winding down. Former Dallas quarterback Troy Aikman had his 3 rings by the time he was 29. The issue of Romo's age is only a topic of discussion among those who feel it necessary to speed up the process of replacing the 3-time pro bowler with someone else; preferably a first round draft pick. All last season, and right up to this year's draft, message boards, forums and blogs were full of fans begging Jerry Jones trade up far enough to draft Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins.
In his NFL dÃ©but, RGIII was spectacular, going 19-26 for 320 yards, and two touchdowns. Was giving up two first round picks, and one second for the youngster worth it? To Daniel Snyder it was, but not to Jerry Jones. After one game the media is all over the success of Griffin. Washington needs to take a long hard look at the Carolina Panther's record last season after drafting the coveted Cam Newton. The Panthers ended the regular season with a record of 6-10, with Newton winning rookie of the year. That is not to say that Griffin will be a bust; on the contrary, he played like a veteran against a shell of a Saints team. All the more reason Jerry Jones should want Romo to play well.
What Jones wants is a championship; all things being equal, he also knows Romo is his best shot with the team he has now. There isn't time to groom a rookie quarterback and win a Super Bowl with the current roster. Jones isn't getting any younger, either.
Matt Shaub of the Houston Texans recently received $62 million for four years. Romo can expect more. Finishing the 2011 season with a quarterback rating of 102.5, trailing only Rodgers, Brees and Brady, he's certainly proven he can play with the best of them. As of last year, Romo has moved into second place all-time with a rating of 97.3.
Statistically, Romo has out played his predecessors; in some cases very convincingly. He holds the records for most 300 yard games in a season at 8; most touchdown passes in a season at 36; most consecutive games with a touchdown pass with 20, and the most passing yards in a single season with 4483 yards.
In short, bad quarterbacks just don't play that well, so the answer must lie somewhere else. If the first game of the 2012 season is any indication, trading up to draft Michael Claiborne was the best decision Jerry Jones could make this season. Beating the Giants had as much to do with shutting down Eli Manning and the "big play" as it did with Romo's performance.
Ensuring Romo retires a Cowboy is the most important decision of Jones' illustrious, if not notorious tenure as owner of the Dallas Cowboys.
When asked about the situation, Romo replied, "I haven't even thought about it." Of course, he hasn'tÂ—that trophy keeps getting in the way.
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