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Tony Romo: Cowboys in Between a Rock and a Hard Place with Controversial QB

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 30:  Head coach Jason Garrett talks to Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys after they failed to convert on a third down against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on December 30, 2012 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IFebruary 12, 2013

Regardless of where you stand on the true value of Tony Romo, whether or not the Dallas Cowboys should offer him an extension is a difficult decision.

You can either offer him an extension, saving money this offseason to make moves, or you can wait until Romo plays out his contract and suffer this offseason as a result.

Choices, choices.

We all know where the Cowboys stand on Romo, of course. Executive vice president Stephen Jones said the team wants to sign Romo to a long-term contract as soon as possible, calling the veteran quarterback "a key piece of what we're about going forward," via ESPN. Owner Jerry Jones has been fawning over Romo ever since Dallas drafted him.

And, financially, it makes sense in the short term. Romo is scheduled to make $11.5 million in 2013. More importantly, his salary cap figure is currently a team-high $16.8 million. Given the Cowboys are roughly $20 million over the expected $121 million salary cap for 2013, that's certainly a problem.

Dallas could take on Romo's salary for 2013, but that would mean losing players like nose tackle Jay Ratliff, defensive tackle Marcus Spears and outside linebacker Anthony Spencer. The Cowboys would also have to restructure the contracts of outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware, cornerback Brandon Carr and maybe even receiver Miles Austin.

But it is possible to force Romo to play out his contract and still retain some talent. That would allow the Cowboys to franchise Romo in 2014 and 2015 if they so choose.

That brings us to our next question: Has Romo earned an extension? 

On one hand, Romo is a three-time Pro Bowler. He's set numerous team records. And he's led the Cowboys on 18 fourth-quarterback comebacks, tied for 34th in NFL history (via Pro-Football-Reference.com).

On the other hand, Dallas has never gotten past the divisional round of the playoffs under Romo's guidance. The Cowboys haven't made the playoffs the past three seasons.

Then there's last season. While Romo ranked sixth in touchdown passes and inside the top 10 in yards per pass attempt, he also tossed a league-high 19 interceptions. That included three picks against the Washington Redskins in Week 17 that sent the Cowboys home early.

And before you say Romo only had so many interceptions because he threw the ball so much, keep in mind that his interception rate ranked 23rd in the league (via Pro-Football-Reference.com).

It's no secret that the Cowboys are trying to ink Romo to an extension this offseason, but perhaps they need to take a step back and truly evaluate the 32-year-old before they blindly move forward. They may reconsider their stance.

 

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