That’s the question that is burning through Cowboys Nation these days.
We start with Tony Romo.
The Cowboys are working hard to sign quarterback Tony Romo to an extension. Early reports seem to insist that the deal will be somewhere around 4 years, $60 million. A salary that long and that large might prove to be a mistake at Valley Ranch.
With the 2013 NFL Draft approaching, Tony Romo holds all the leverage in negotiations. The Cowboys are in a position where they have to clear salary to sign their draft picks and Romo is able to dictate his value due to time frame limitations.
Romo has been productive as a Cowboy, passing for 25,737 yards and 177 touchdowns. He has been one of the highest rated passers in NFL history and holds many Cowboys passing records. Unfortunately, his winning totals in clutch games will dictate the perception of a relatively solid career.
There is reason to believe that the Cowboys must re-sign the veteran quarterback. No doubt, he gives the Cowboys the best chance to win in the immediate future. However, age and lack of protection make him a relative unknown when speaking on future durability and career longevity.
There is a big risk to a long-term deal.
Shifting focus to Anthony Spencer who received the Cowboys franchise tender at the beginning of the offseason.
The Cowboys might have acted too swiftly on Spencer, as the market for edge-rushers wasn’t as big as one might have expected. After 4-3 defensive end Cliff Avril signed a 2 year $13 million dollar contract it became apparent that Spencer could have been had much cheaper than his $10.6 million tender.
The Cowboys are working hard to secure a contract extension for Spencer but it’s going to be hard to convince him to take a smaller deal than having $10.6 million guaranteed.
Spencer has been a productive player for the Cowboys but has only had one dominant season. He’s a consistent 60 tackle 5.5 sack player a season but the Cowboys might have to pay for the player Spencer was in 2012 and not the one his history suggests he is.
Either way the Cowboys have tough decisions to make.
Both players are good players who are meaningful to the future competitiveness of the team.
The Cowboys best play might be to try and re-allocate money prior to the draft without committing to long-term deals to either Spencer or Romo. The Cowboys would then be able to gain some leverage in negotiations.
Regardless, the Cowboys must tread lightly with all their impending moves. The team is in a very tough fiscal situation that could only be worse by over-committing to under achieving players.