The Tony Romo sweepstakes that stalled when the Dallas Cowboys decided they were not quite decided on what to do with their four-time Pro Bow quarterback will never actually start, according to ESPN and multiple other media reports. Romo is headed to the broadcast booth, deciding to retire after evaluating his health over the past few years, as well as looking at his opportunity to spend more time with his family.
Romo, an undrafted free agent signed by the Cowboys in 2003 out of Eastern Illinois, has thrown for 34,183 yards with a 65.3-percent completion rate, a 7.9 yards-per-attempt average, 248 touchdowns, 117 interceptions, and a 97.1 passer rating. His passing yards, touchdowns, and passer rating are all Dallas franchise records. He was named the Cowboys’ starting quarterback during the 2006 season, but injuries over the past two seasons limited him to just five games played.
Fox and CBS are both expected to make offers to Romo to have him become a color commentator for the 2017 season. For Fox, he could replace John Lynch, who was hired by the San Francisco 49ers this year as the team’s general manager. CBS is said to look at Romo as a possible replacement for Phil Simms. NBC could also look to hire Romo.
Whichever television company does hire Romo, they would have to ensure they have a plan in case he is lured back to the league. According to Adam Schefter, one NFL executive has already said, “Romo is now every team’s emergency backup quarterback in case your starter gets hurt.” He adds that a team would have to “pay him to come out of ‘retirement.’”
The Cowboys are expected to release Romo, designating him a post-June 1 release. That would provide some salary cap relief this year for the team, spreading his $24.7 million cap number this year into $10.7 million in dead money this year and $8.9 million in 2018 dead money. The Cowboys would not see that space become available until June 2.
The decision to retire from Romo shakes up the quarterback market this offseason, where the Houston Texans and Denver Broncos were both though to be highly interested in signing the veteran whenever Dallas released him. Houston is looking for the replacement to Brock Osweiler, who failed as their starter last season and was traded just a year after signing a four-year, $72-million contract. Denver heads into the year with Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch as their top two quarterbacks on a team that feels every other part of their Super Bowl 50 remains.
The New England Patriots could now be in a better position to make a trade, sending their backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo somewhere in exchange for early draft picks. The team is thought to be looking for multiple first-round picks for a quarterback who has thrown 94 career passes in 17 games played, with two starts.