The word in Dallas is that quarterback Tony Romo is about to receive a massive payday, and if you think that’s a head scratcher, it’s not just you. The Cowboys’ signal caller has lead his team to one playoff victory in seven seasons, but that isn’t stopping everyone’s favorite owner/general manager/football dictator from handsomely rewarding him for. . . well, there must be a reason.
Just when we thought the value for quarterbacks couldn’t get higher (see Flacco, Joe), the Cowboys are taking the game of ¡Pay the Quarterback! to a new level. Flacco has a lot to prove to justify his $120 payday, but he did, you know, just win a Super Bowl. Romo’s playoff victory total is equal to Flacco’s Super Bowl count, but according to Fox Sports’ Matt Mosley, “Romo will be looking for somewhere in the $40-45 million range,” in guaranteed money. Flacco just got handed $52 in guaranteed cash, which makes Romo’s purported asking price that much more baffling.
The Tony Romo contract is indicative of two trends: the ever-increasing leverage of NFL quarterbacks, and the dysfunction of the Dallas Cowboys. Many avid football fans, myself included, question whether Joe Flacco should be the highest paid player in the NFL. This is a testament to the tremendous leverage that NFL quarterbacks naturally carry by playing the most difficult position to find a replacement. Every report out of Baltimore prior to Flacco inking the deal demonstrated that the Ravens were hesitant to hand their quarterback such an exorbitant pile of cash, but they did. Why? Because the thought of overpaying Flacco was easier to live with than the thought of replacing him.
NFL quarterbacks have more negotiating power than ever, but it still doesn’t explain why Tony $@#&ing Romo is going to receive a mega-millions contract. Cowboys’ fans can thank Jerry Jones for that one. The flamboyant Dallas owner fell head over heels for Mr. Jessica Simpson from his first snap, and Romo has enjoyed miniscule expectations ever since. Despite their perennially underachieving ways, Romo has managed to be the only quarterback in the history of football to not shoulder the blame for his team’s poor play. The Cowboys’ last game of the 2012 season saw Romo and co. squander another opportunity for a postseason berth, yet here we are.
Even Jerry Jones would concede that Romo’s production hasn’t been enough, but why is he more than likely going to pay the man? The Cowboys are like most teams: they have no one else who can step in and be an effective NFL quarterback, and that is why Romo can demand money that he has not earned. He knows that his departure could easily result in the dreaded Rebuilding Year, and the uber-competitive Jones knows that Romo is his best option for the 2013 season. The Cowboys have never tried to find a future at the position, and they are about to pay the consequence via Jones’ oft-used checkbook.
Like other teams who are having trouble taking the next step to legitimate Super Bowl contender, the Cowboys continue to keep the bar too low. Romo is a playmaker who has certainly won many games for the ‘Boys, but his brief moments of greatness have been outnumbered by yearly disappointments. Romo eventually may find consistency and success, but handing him a top-3 contract before he does it just stinks of desperation.