Originally written on BlackSportsOnline  |  Last updated 11/20/14
There’s no doubt that Tony Romo has been under a microscope throughout his career as the starting quarterback of one of the NFL’s most popular teams.  The Cowboys just gave us all 108 million (or 55 million if you only want to count guaranteed money) more reasons to zoom-in. Much to the chagrin of many observers, the Cowboys from signed Romo to a six-year, $108 million contract extension that includes $55 million in guaranteed money on Friday. “Absolutely, we feel we can win a championship with Tony,” Cowboys Vice President Stephen Jones told USA Today (via CBSSports.com). “We wouldn’t be doing all of this if we didn’t think we could win with him.” We’ll find out if Jones and his father, Cowboys Owner/GM Jerry Jones will be rewarded for their faith soon enough, but there is a reasonable argument to support giving Romo this deal. With few alternatives available to them other than stumbling upon the right quarterback in the draft this year or next, and Joe Flacco’s deal already setting the market, the Cowboys chose to commit to Romo in hopes of staying relevant in the NFC East long enough to eventually breakthrough with a successful playoff run. In many ways I think the Cowboys’ move is analogous to the Atlanta Hawks’ decision to give Joe Johnson a $119 million dollar contract extension in 2010.  Like Romo’s deal, Johnson’s deal was met with plenty of criticism. Johnson was 29 when he signed his deal, and in NBA years that’s similar to where Romo is now as a soon to be 33-year old starting quarterback in the NFL.  Moreover, Johnson’s Hawks were a fringe playoff team like Romo’s Cowboys, having been swept out of the playoffs in the second round in consecutive seasons prior to Johnson getting his extension. In addition, many would argue that Romo’s value to the Cowboys exceeds his value on the open market the way that Johnson’s value to the Hawks exceeded his. Hawks’ management made a choice that was very similar to the one that Jerry Jones’ Cowboys just made when they decided to re-sign Johnson: they opted to avoid risking falling into the NBA’s draft lottery in favor of maintaining their status as a fringe playoff team in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. Even though the Hawks (with a new GM) eventually decided to get rid of Johnson’s contract in an effort to free up cap space, one key distinction (other than the fact that NFL contracts aren’t fully-guaranteed like NBA deals) between the two moves is that being a fringe playoff team in today’s NFL is a lot different than being a fringe playoff team in the NBA. The NBA hasn’t seen a playoff team seeded lower than third win a championship since the sixth-seeded Houston Rockets in 1995.  Meanwhile, the 2011 New York Giants won the Super Bowl following a 9-7 regular season and the sixth-seeded Green Bay Packers won a title as a wildcard team in 2010. Even though Romo has led the Cowboys to a pedestrian 16-16 mark over the last two seasons, Dallas was only a game away from getting into the postseason in 2011 and 2012.  As New York and Green Bay have recently demonstrated, once a team gets into the playoffs, anything can happen. Given that context, perhaps the Cowboys didn’t necessarily embrace mediocrity when they extended Romo. “We’ve always looked at him as a great quarterback,” Jones said. “He wants to win a championship as much as anybody.” Despite his shortcomings, Dallas has decided to bet $55 million in guaranteed money on Romo and his 55-38 career regular season record getting them into January and stringing together three of four wins over facing an uncertain future at the most important position in football. If the Cowboys are wrong, they’ll likely be set back even further than they would have been if they had decided to move on from the Romo era after next season. If they’re right, Jerry Jones will end up having a Mastercard-like “priceless” moment when he hoist up the Lombardi trophy next to the highest paid player in Cowboys history.                            
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Family searching for missing Ohio State football player

CM Punk opens up about leaving WWE, says he'll never return

Manny Pacquiao responds to Floyd Mayweather diss

Australian cricket player dies from head injuries

Wrigley Field bleacher renovation may be delayed

Yankees wanted Rollins but Phillies' price was too high

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Pop misses game for medical reasons; Messina takes over

John Beilein upset with ESPN for late start time to game

Tyson Chandler felt like Knicks' scapegoat at times

Fred Jackson has 'no respect' for Donte Whitner

Devon Still responds to unpaid child support allegations

Diamondbacks sign Cuban slugger Yasmany Tomas

Five takeaways from NFL's Thanksgiving Day action

Things to be thankful for in the NBA this season

Eric Berry sends out Thanksgiving message

WATCH: Ronda Rousey talks about Eminem referencing her

WATCH: Dwayne Harris dirty hit on Nolan Carroll sparks fight

Steelers turned down chance to be called 'America's Team'

Report: Small chance Raiders-Rams could be moved to Indy

Todd Gurley begins rehab after surgery on knee for torn ACL

Brodeur to practice with Blues

OSU player posts Michigan player's girlfriend as his 'WCW'

Jim Harbaugh's family may not eat turkey thanks to NBC

Ole Miss' The Grove threatened by Mississippi State fan

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

5 NFL takeaways from Thanksgiving

WATCH: Ronda Rousey talks Eminem

CM Punk opens up about leaving WWE

Wrigley renovation may be delayed

Steelers could have been America's Team

John Beilein upset with ESPN

Should Washington move on from RG3?

Dominic Raiola fined for cheap shots

Rose leaves with injury again

WATCH: Pierce signs for fan during game

Report: McCoy to start over RG3

Braxton Miller headed to Oregon?

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.