Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has a close relationship with veteran quarterback Tony Romo. Still, it’s time for the Cowboys to move on from Romo, and Jones is dragging his feet. This isn’t good for anyone, least of all Romo.
Jones said Tuesday, via Tom Pelissero of USA Today, that the team will figure out what to do about Romo sometime before training camp.
Jones clarified his position on Romo Tuesday via the team’s official website.
"This is the offseason," Jones said. "We're not missing doing anything. From the standpoint of the franchise and the Cowboys, nothing is being held up here at all."
Jones isn’t wrong about that. Keeping Romo in limbo isn’t detrimental to the Cowboys at all. Dallas has its starting quarterback — reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year Dak Prescott — and keeping Romo around as a high-priced backup is impractical at best.
But teams will start offseason training programs soon, and the Cowboys are robbing Romo of valuable time he could be spending learning a new offense and acclimating to a new team.
Not that Jones is obligated to care about the plight of quarterback-needy teams that may have interest in Romo, but this delay is throwing off their offseasons, too. The Houston Texans and Denver Broncos in particular will have to make some difficult decisions about the quarterback position over the coming weeks. If Romo’s status with the Cowboys isn’t finalized by the draft, teams that once coveted him may be forced to move on.
None of that is Jones’ concern.
"I feel good about how we're doing, we being the Cowboys, me and Tony," Jones said. "I feel very good about it."
The Cowboys aren’t keeping Romo on the roster. Prescott proved to be a quality starting quarterback during Dallas’ 13-3 2016 season, and he’s more cost-effective for a team that finds itself with a lot of needs to address on defense.
Romo is under contract with the Cowboys through the 2019 season, and he is set to count $24.7 million against the cap this year. His contract makes it difficult to coordinate a trade, and if Dallas cuts Romo, the team will absorb $19.6 million in dead money. They could spread that hit out over two years if they designate Romo as a post-June 1 cut.
But holding onto Romo makes no sense for the Cowboys, and all Jones is doing is delaying the inevitable. It would be better to let Romo move on and get established with a new team as soon as possible.