The Dallas Cowboys enter the 2013 season with some major contract and salary cap decisions. Do they try to re-sign Anthony Spencer or let him go in free agency? Do they take some salary cap hits to rid themselves of bad contracts and under-performing players? Do they make a play for some help in free agency? Of all these questions, the most important one involves quarterback Tony Romo.
Romo is entering the last year of his deal and will account for over $17 million towards the salary cap. The 2013 season will be his seventh as a starter for the Cowboys and could be his last. At age 33 and with a lack of postseason success, many fans are ready to move on from the star-crossed quarterback. Here are five reasons why the Cowboys not only should re-sign Rmo but also will do so.
1. The Salary Cap
This is simple. Dallas can save almost $7 million towards this year’s cap by giving Tony an extension on his contract. Going into the year with over seven percent of the cap assigned to one player would not be prudent. Dallas has a very difficult cap situation, having little to no room to improve the team without restructuring some deals. Aside from Brandon Carr, the most money can be saved by reducing Romo’s cap figure which would allow Dallas some wiggle room.
Oct 28, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) yells after scoring a touchdown in the third quarter against the New York Giants at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
For all the backlash and hatred towards him, Tony Romo is a very accomplished quarterback. This is especially true given that he has only been a starter for a total of six seasons. Amongst active quarterbacks, Romo is top ten in passes completed, pass attempts, passing touchdowns, game-winning drives and comeback victories. He is in the top five in yards per pass completion (5th), passer rating (4th), pass completion percentage (4th) and yards per pass attempt (2nd). If this doesn’t make him “elite,” he certainly is secure at the top of the next tier.
3A. The Cowboys lack of success is not his fault – Part one
In the six full seasons that Romo has been the leader of this team, he has been responsible for 55 wins. You would need to total the previous eight seasons to account for that same total. He also has led the Cowboys to the playoffs three times, with a record of 1-4. In the six seasons prior to Romo, Dallas only reached the playoffs once and lost. In fact, before the win over Philadelphia in 2009, the last playoff victory came in 1996.
3B. The Cowboys lack of success is not his fault – Part two
Dallas has asked too much of Romo. One very simple, yet important fact that proves this is the Cowboys have never provided Romo with a 1,000 yard rusher. Pick any other high profile quarterback in the league and they have all had this luxury. Brees (1), Brady, Peyton Manning & Rodgers (2), Ryan (3), Flacco & Roethlisberger (4) and Eli Manning (6) have all been able to rely on a running game. All of them, except Ryan, all have a Super Bowl ring as well. Providing Romo with some balance could be the answer to that puzzle.
3C. The Cowboys lack of success is not his fault – Part three
Dec 11, 2011; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) rolls out to throw a touchdown pass during the second quarter of the game against the New York Giants at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Along with a lack of a consistent running game to lean on, Dallas has also rarely provided Romo with any defensive support. Only one time since Tony has been the starting quarterback has Dallas had a top ten defense. This was in 2009, when Dallas won eleven games and a playoff game. Quite simply, the defense has been an albatross around the neck of the Cowboys’ playoff hopes. In five of the last seven years, Dallas has been in the bottom half of the league in both passing defense and total defense. This puts extreme pressure on the offense, specifically on the quarterback, to keep the games close.
For all of these reasons, there is almost no chance that Dallas goes into 2013 without the most important position on the field secured long term. An extension for three or four years at anywhere from $10-12 million per year would make the most sense for both parties.