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Dont Believe The Hype Over Tony Romo’s Contract

Jess Haynie

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Tony Romo

In the days since Tony Romo's much-lauded press conference there's been plenty of speculation about his future. While the possibility of retirement lingers, the general consensus is that he will be be starting for another NFL team in 2017.

Obviously, one of two things will have to happen for Romo to join a new club; he will have to be traded or released from his Cowboys contract. As you can imagine, there are major salary cap implications when a franchise quarterback is involved.

Unfortunately, even some of the biggest personalities in sports don't quite understand how it works.

Skip Bayless on Twitter

Think how much cap $ Jerry would have to beef up the D if he traded Romo! Sure, risks injury to Dak. But so does every team w franchise QB.

Skip spends a lot of time with his head up his own ass, so it's not a surprise that he may not understand the intricacies of the NFL salary cap. Unfortunately, these inaccurate statements create ripples throughout the NFL universe and leave fans confused.

Here are some of the prevalent myths about Tony Romo's contract and how it will affect the Cowboys salary cap going forward. Let's bust 'em up, starting with Skip's false statement.

Myth #1 - Trading Romo Creates Lots of Cap Space

One of the biggest misconceptions out there is that trading a player has a different effect on the salary cap than releasing them. Unfortunately, this is not the case. It is effectively the same transaction when it comes to your cap. The only difference is that you get a draft pick or player for you trouble.

Whether he's traded or released, Tony Romo will still cause $19.6 million in dead money. There won't be any fantastic post-Romo spending spree in 2017.

Myth #2 - Romo Will Cost Us More Money if Traded/Released

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys vs. Redskins Recap: Last minute win, last game for Romo?I've seen several freaking out about that $19 million as if it creates financial chaos for the Cowboys. That couldn't be farther from the truth.

If he was still on the roster in 2017, Tony Romo would count $24.7 million against the salary cap. His trade or release actually cut his cap hit down by $5.1 million dollars, giving us back that much in usable cap space.

Remember, nobody thought Dak Prescott was going to become the Cowboys starter this soon. Dallas has done its salary cap planning based on the assumption that Romo was still going to be here in 2017. Now they will actually have $5 million more to spend than they were likely expecting.

Myth #3 - Romo's Cap Hit Goes Away if He Retires

Another misguided viewpoint; Romo's dead money remains the same even if he retires. It's really no different than a trade or release. It's called "guaranteed money" for a reason.

Teams have sued players to recoup bonus money in the past but have to cite fairly egregious breaches of contract to win. An example of this would be if the Cowboys wanted to sue Rolando McClain for the signing bonus they gave him in 2016.

Obviously, Dallas would never do this to Tony Romo.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

Here's what you need to know about Tony Romo's contract and the Dallas Cowboys' salary cap, courtesy of OverTheCap.com. It's really not that complicated.

Romo's $19.6 million in dead money will either be absorbed in 2017 or can be split between 2017 and 2018. If split, he will count $10.7 million against next year's cap and then $8.9 million in 2018.

Cowboys Headlines - Tony Romo: Whatever Comes Next, Thank You For 10 Great YearsIf Dallas eats the entire dead money hit next year, they will still have $5.1 million in extra cap space than if Romo was still on the roster. If they split the dead money, the cap space jumps up to $14 million in 2017.

Remember, Dak Prescott counts next to nothing against the cap while under his rookie contract. Dallas has the luxury to eat the money from Romo's deal because they're not paying anything for his replacement.

Dallas will certainly have a choice to make about splitting the dead money or absorbing it all in 2017. It's going to come down to how many moves they anticipate making next year, both internal re-signings and free agent acquisitions.

That's also a major factor in whether or not they seek to trade Tony Romo.

Trading Romo before that June 1st deadline means they have to eat the full $19 million right away. They may be fine with that, though, especially if it means they're getting a player or draft pick of consequence to help them.

Okay... maybe it's a little complicated, after all.

The point here is that the Cowboys will NOT be anymore cap-strapped by moving Romo than if they kept him. In fact, they will have more flexibility than they would have otherwise. They can deal with his dead money cleanly and easily.

Nothing to worry about.



Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Tommy (@TommyVictorySec)

    November 18, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    again, any trade pre-June for Romo will need to include a day 2 pick or better. After June 1, trade will only occur IF a desperate team is willing to part with 2018 day 2 or better pick. Another possibility is trade with a team for starting DE in top 10.
    I highly doubt Cowboys will cut Romo.

    • Jess Haynie

      Jess Haynie

      November 19, 2016 at 7:31 am

      “I highly doubt Cowboys will cut Romo.”

      Why? What sense does it make to keep a $24 million backup?

      • PerezHBD

        November 20, 2016 at 1:43 pm

        Why would you keep him as backup? So long as he’s healthy, Romo is a much better QB than Dak. Play Romo in 2017 for one last run at the Super Bowl then transition to Dak in 2018 or earlier if Romo gets hurt. Not exactly complicated

  2. Roger Pearson

    November 20, 2016 at 6:34 am

    Would JJ want to keep Romo. Check 2015. How much does a 4-12 season cost the franchise? What is $24 million to JJ when what he wants is the last word on his legacy? Does JJ want another Emmitt or Ware sour taste? As a player-oriented and loyal owner, do you think he remembers Emmitt playing the Giants in that season’s do-or-die final game with only one arm and shoulder? Do you think he remembers Romo playing with a punctured lung and coming back too soon from his broken clavicle (and not telling the coaches to give him max protection)? The answer is a no brainer. BTW, is Romo really injury prone given the supporting cast he played with all these years? If your memory still fails, check Sam Bradford.

  3. Jason W.

    November 20, 2016 at 6:45 am

    Dallas will not get anything more than a 3rd for Romo. It’s not because of talent. It’s because if he does become a free agent, the highest compensatory pick we could get is a 3rd. That’s why NE shipped Collins to CLE for a third. If Collins hot the open market, he likely would command a deal that warrants a 3rd comp pick.

    If DAL does not get an offer to land AT LEAST a 3rd Rd pick, then I wouldn’t deal Romo or cut him. If we take almost a $20m cap hit, keep him until 2018, when his dead money becomes $8.9m.

    A team will not offer anything substantial for a 36 yr old QB with a long history of injury. People will point to the Bradford deal but that’s not equivalent. Bradford wasn’t making $20m and isn’t 36.

  4. CowboyMatt

    November 20, 2016 at 8:31 am

    Ok so you say Bayless has his ‘head up his ass’ about the extra cap money, and then you proceed to explain why he’s correct. Do you read your own articles?

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Leighton Vander Esch To Top Rookie Season With Pro Bowl Trip

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Next Day Rant: Cowboys Drafting LB Vander Esch Looks Pretty Smart Now

Dallas Cowboys' rookie Leighton Vander Esch has done enough to prove every single doubter wrong. When Roger Goodell called his name during the 2018 NFL Draft in Arlington, Texas, many in Cowboys Nation rejoiced at the thought of having a young linebacker for a defense surrounded with uncertainty. However, many analysts doubted the draft pick. For a lot of people (sadly, I include myself in this category), the pick should've been used on another player. For most, despite acknowledging his raw talent, Vander Esch wouldn't be able to provide the Cowboys with an instant impact player. Ah, well.

After a remarkable season, Vander Esch (a.k.a. Wolf Hunter) has earned a spot on this season's second-team All-Pro. When the Pro Bowl voting began, Vander Esch was snubbed from the ballot itself. It didn't took the NFL long to realize their mistake and add the Cowboys' linebacker to the list. Despite missing the cut at first, Vander Esch will be heading to Orlando to play in this year's Pro Bowl on January 27th.

Dallas Cowboys on Twitter

DallasCowboys linebacker @VanderEsch38 has been added to the 2019 Pro Bowl Roster. 🐺 Congratulations, rookie! → https://t.co/AYqEUy2tZx

The former Boise State Bronco will be replacing Carolina Panthers' LB Luke Kuechly, who won't be participating because of an injury.

Vander Esch racked up 140 tackles (per Pro Football Reference), ranking third in the league in this category. He finished the season as the fifth best linebacker in Pro Football Focus' rankings.

But numbers aren't really enough to fully appreciate what Vander Esch did for the Dallas Cowboys. A team that was used to seeing its defense break when veteran Sean Lee went down injured, did not only get someone to fill in for Lee. Vander Esch actually upgraded the Cowboys' defense. It didn't matter where the ball went, he was always around when opponents were tackled. His speed and chance of direction allowed him to run sideline to sideline, covering a huge portion of the field.

Along Jaylon Smith, Dallas managed to have one of the best linebacker duos in the NFL.

The last time a defensive rookie from the Cowboys went to the Pro Bowl was in 1981, when Everson Walls made the team. Vander Esch is the 11th rookie in team history to be selected to the Pro Bowl. This year, the rookie will be accompanied by DeMarcus Lawrence, Byron Jones, Tyron Smith, Zack Martin and Ezekiel Elliott.

Tell me what you think about "Leighton Vander Esch To Top Rookie Season With Pro Bowl Trip" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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Cowboys Expect C Travis Frederick Back for Offseason Program

Jess Haynie

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Travis Frederick

Lost in yesterday's hoopla over Scott Linehan's return was a positive report about Center Travis Frederick. In his comments to the media, Jason Garrett said that Frederick's recovery timetable should allow him to a full participant in the team's offseason program.

After never missing a start in his first five years, Travis missed all of 2018 dealing with the effects of Guillain-Barré Syndrome. The disease attacked his neurological system and required immediate and intensive treatment.

Rob Phillips on Twitter

Jason Garrett says the team anticipates Travis Frederick being involved in the offseason program right from the start this spring if he continues on the same positive track in recovery from Guillain-Barré syndrome. #cowboyswire

While Joe Looney performed admirably in Frederick's absence, he's not an elite talent. Travis has been arguably the best center in the NFL since entering the league in 2013.

It's hard to qualify what effect not having Frederick had on the Cowboys offense in 2018. Ezekiel Elliott still led the league in rushing, but short-yardage plays weren't as automatic as we've seen in past years. A 4th-and-1 stuff was part of what led to the Cowboys' loss this past Saturday.

Dak Prescott was the second-most sacked QB in the NFL in 2018. After being sacked just 25 and 32 times in his first two seasons, the number skyrocketed to 56 sacks.

That's not all on Frederick, of course. Tyron Smith had some health issues and there were was turnover at left guard.

But having your All-Pro veteran center out there to help with the pre-snap reads, and help the rookie guard on his left, might have helped avoid some of those issues.

Indeed, Travis Frederick's return is just one of many reasons for optimism with the 2019 season. One of the best players on the team, he was sorely missed this year and can only help as Dallas looks to build on their division title and playoff appearance.



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For Cowboys to Beat the Rams, Dak Prescott must Lead the Way

John Williams

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Playoff Scenarios Aim Towards Seahawks vs Cowboys in Wild Card

In the NFL wins and losses often come down to quarterback play. That isn't to say that if a team wins, it was all because of the quarterback and inversely, if a team loses that it was all on the quarterback. Teams win or lose games. Generally speaking, however, the quarterback has the highest amount of influence on the outcome of an NFL game. This will be no different for the Dallas Cowboys this Saturday when they take on the Los Angeles Rams in the LA Coliseum. For America's Team to make their first trip to the NFC Championship Game since 1996, Dak Prescott has to have a good game.

This looks to be a good matchup for the Dallas Cowboys offense, which should allow Dak Prescott and the Cowboys to take advantage in certain areas.

A few Rams Passing Game Notes

  • The Los Angeles Rams were middle of the pack against the pass this season, allowing the 14th fewest passing yards in the league this season.
  • The Rams allowed 7.7 yards per attempt. Dak Prescott is averaging 7.6 yards per attempt since week 10 of the season.
  • The Rams allowed the eighth most passing touchdowns in the NFL this season. They and the New Orleans Saints are the only teams in the top 10 of passing touchdowns allowed in the playoffs this season.
  • The Rams were 15th in the NFL in sacks, with 41, but Aaron Donald accounted for half of that with 20.5 sacks on the season. No other player had more than five sacks.
  • They were third in the NFL in interceptions, collecting 18.
  • The Rams allowed the ninth highest yards per completion on the season at 11.8. So on average, every completion went for a first down.

Dak Prescott is playing as well as any quarterback in the playoffs at the moment. Over the last nine games, he's averaging 272 passing yards, two total touchdowns, was only intercepted four times, and was sacked on average 3.2 times per game.

On Saturday night, we saw Scott Linehan put the ball in his hands on a couple designed runs that nearly scored touchdowns. It was an excellent addition to the offense that could help fix the Cowboys red zone woes. Getting Dak Prescott running on some designed runs or quarterback draws could help slow down Aaron Donald and the pass rush.

The Cowboys needed every bit of Dak Prescott magic to overcome a stingy Seattle Seahawks defense in their Wild Card win and they'll need him to step up again this week against the Rams. Every team is going to attempt to take away the running game to make Dak beat you and as he continues to mature, he's getting more and more comfortable doing that. He's comfortable with the big stage and the big moments.

NFL Research on Twitter

Dak Prescott Since 2016, including playoffs * 15 game-winning drives (Most in NFL) * 13 primetime QB wins (Most in NFL) * 19 rush TD (Most in NFL by QB) #DallasCowboys @dak

No Quarterback in the NFL has more game winning drives, rushing touchdowns, or wins in primetime than Dak Prescott. When we talk about Dak Prescott, we talk a lot about the things that he can't do as a passer and deservedly so, he still has some growing to do in that area, but in the things that you can't objectively quantify -- mental toughness, resiliency, clutchness, will, determination -- Dak is one of the best in the NFL. He's as mentally tough as they come in the NFL and he doesn't let the spotlight or the game situation phase him. He has that stuff that's hard to put your finger on.

The Dallas Cowboys will need more of that on Saturday night in Los Angeles. The Rams can score and can score in bunches and if the Cowboys defense starts sluggish or has an off night, they'll need Dak Prescott to keep them in the game. Even if the defense has a good game, Dak still has to come through in the passing game and on the ground to give the Cowboys a chance to pull off the upset.

The Dallas Cowboys are going to try to run the ball against the Rams on Saturday. That's their identity; run the ball, control the clock, and be efficient in the passing game. Prescott, either with his legs or with his arm will have to make some plays to extend drives and keep the Rams offense on the sideline. He'll need to be sharp in the red zone to convert those opportunities into touchdowns. Settling for field goals against the Rams is how the Cowboys get beat.

This matchup with the Rams looks to set up nicely for Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys, yet how things look on paper doesn't mean much when the lights go on and the whistle blows. It's a big stage and it's another win-or-go-home game for the Cowboys (like every game has been over the last nine weeks). In a big game, you need big time players, and the Cowboys have one in quarterback Dak Prescott.



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