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.
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
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.
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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.
If 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.