Tony Romo is part of Cowboys’ long-term plans, but should he be?

Tony Romo is 55-38 as the Dallas Cowboys' starting quarterback but has led the team to just one playoff victory.
(Rob Carr / Getty Images)

Tony Romo reportedly has yet to start negotiating a new contract with the Dallas Cowboys. But that doesn’t mean that the team’s starting quarterback for the last seven seasons isn’t part of the organization’s plans for the future.

“Tony is a key piece of what we’re about going forward,” Cowboys Executive Vice President Stephen Jones said Tuesday, via ESPNDallas. “We’re certainly going to be looking at his situation [in] time.”

Romo is a three-time Pro Bowl selection who has led the Cowboys to a 55-38 record as a starter. He has completed 64.7 % of his passes for 25,737 yards with 177 touchdowns and 91 interceptions with a career passer rating of 95.6.


But he has led Dallas to the playoffs only three times, with the last postseason visit following the 2009 season. He has a 1-3 postseason record, never advancing farther than the division round. Some fans feel the time has come to move in another direction at quarterback, but the Cowboys don’t seem to have any real options at this point.

With Romo under contract for one more year, one possibility would seem to be letting him play that out while grooming another quarterback to take his place if the team should falter again this season. But one problem with that scenario -- other than the team’s seeming loyalty to Romo -- has to do with the Cowboys’ precarious salary-cap situation.

Entering the final year of the six-year, $67.4-million contract he signed in 2007, Romo is scheduled to earn a base salary of $11.5 million with a team-high salary-cap figure of $16.8 million. The Cowboys need to trim some $20 million from their payroll to get under the expected $121-million cap by the league deadline of March 21, and striking a new deal with Romo before then could be a huge step in that direction.

“We’ve historically [extended contracts] with quarterbacks for the Dallas Cowboys ahead of time,” Jones said. “We did it with Troy [Aikman] and we certainly want to look at that with Tony so we can all move forward in terms of how we want to play around our salary cap with our team. Tony is the key piece in terms of how your cap is represented.”

The two sides haven’t talked about a new contract since Romo cut off negotiations last season to keep from being a distraction.

“I don’t feel pressed,” Jones said. “I don’t think we’ve ever felt pressed with Tony. He’s been a great partner. As I said, your quarterback, even when you have a good one and we’re certainly lucky to have one of the best, is going to represent a good piece of your salary cap. How you manage that is important. He understands that and we do, too.”


So while it sounds like the Cowboys want Romo around for years to come, nothing is certain until the contract is signed. And you never know what might happen during negotiations, when they actually get started.


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