Found March 05, 2013 on Fox Sports Southwest:
Tony Romo is living proof that a quarterback doesn't have to have a sterling postseason record to land an enormous contract. That's what happens when you work for Jerry Jones, a man whose blind loyalty to players has given many of them generational wealth. Romo has the Cowboys completely over the barrel because of his unique talent to play the most important position on the field, and the organization's refusal to attempt to draft his successor. The Cowboys hit the lottery by signing Romo as an undrafted rookie out of Eastern Illinois in 2003, although they've never quite reaped any significant rewards from his prolific numbers. On the surface, it seemed ludicrous to hear that Romo and his agent were waiting to see Joe Flacco's money come in before to attempting to strike a deal with the Cowboys. Flacco rolled the dice by playing into his contract year -- and probably made himself an extra 20 million or so. The Ravens didn't mind paying a premium because they have another Lombardi to stare at every day. But none other than Jerry Jones admitted that Romo was likely waiting to see what happened with Flacco. Romo might only have one playoff win since taking over the starting job six games into the '06 season, but he still has a tremendous amount of leverage. "You could say everybody is waiting for the next contract to be the market setter," Jerry told reporters during the NFL combine. "That is fair to say, but everybody also realizes that every team has got the same kind of deadlines and same kinds of issues regarding room. Some more, some less. But the big paid quarterbacks always create team cap issues, so are they waiting to see what one does because that helps their number?" For the Cowboys to address any needs in free agency (begins March 12), they will have to sign Romo to a contract extension. There hasn't been the sense of urgency one might expect, which means the Cowboys might be hoping to address most of their needs via the draft. And that would be somewhat of a novelty based on how this organization has done business over the years. Romo's camp is taking a page out of the Dallas Mavericks' playbook in keeping its powder dry. Romo wants to put his team in the best-possible position to field a competitive team, but he's not going to let the Cowboys rush him into a below-market deal. When you consider that Flacco received 52 million in guaranteed money in his new contract, I think Romo will be looking for somewhere in the 40-45 million range. No, I'm completely serious. The Cowboys will give Romo a large signing bonus in order to free up salary cap space. Romo appears to have one of the most secure jobs in professional sports because he's once again being rewarded for his remarkable talent. Perhaps a coach such as Jim Harbaugh would've been out looking for Romo's replacement in recent years, but the Cowboys surround their quarterback with constant support and ready-made excuses. I believe Romo is an excellent quarterback, but I've never thought it was fair to blame his lack of postseason success on not being surrounded by talent. He had to basically carry the Cowboys last season because of a shaky offensive line, but in past years he's been protected by Pro Bowlers. Watching Romo throw three interceptions in the biggest game of the 2012 season might give some teams pause. But for whatever reason, that failure only seemed to reinforce Jerry's loyalty to his quarterback. The Cowboys haven't even considered shopping Romo to other teams. It would be interesting to at least find out what other teams think about Romo's value. Kansas City sent a second-round pick to San Francisco for Alex Smith. Surely Romo could land at least a first-round pick in a league that is placing more value on mobile quarterbacks than ever. But like a jealous husband, Jerry would rather live with Romo than risk the chance of him leading another franchise to playoff glory. Romo has been coddled in this organization ever since Bill Parcells left the building following the '06 season. Unlike other teams, the Cowboys have refused to draft and develop quarterbacks during the Romo era. They used a fourth-round pick on former Texas A&M quarterback Stephen McGee, but that always felt more like a favor they did for former Aggies coach Mike Sherman. McGee never made any significant progress and was eventually released. And that's just one of the reasons why the Cowboys find themselves completely beholden to Romo. The Ravens gladly paid a premium for Flacco based on his nine playoff wins and recent Super Bowl title. Because of the way they do business, the Cowboys will pay a premium for a quarterback who hasn't taken them anywhere close to a title. It harkens back to Jerry's days in the oilfields. Failure only seems to embolden him. And given the way the past 16 seasons have gone, he should feel pretty damn confident.
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