Tony Romo signs contract that will make him a “Cowboy for life”

I’m rich, biotch!

Tony Romo signed a 7 year deal today worth well over $100 million, and a reported $55 million guaranteed. In 7 years, Romo will be 40 years old. It’s kind of pointless to comment on the financials of the deal until we know all the details, so let’s hold off on that for now.

Instead, let’s just talk about Romo the player (much of this is a re-post from my Cowboys’ offseason team needs post in February).

By now, we pretty much know what Tony Romo’s ceiling is. He could certainly play better if Jerry Jones actually put a half-decent offensive line in front of him, but in terms of skill-set, nobody is going to argue at this point in his career that his arrow is pointing up.


OK. With that caveat out of the way, I understand that Cowboys fans are frustrated by Romo’s penchant for blowing games in spectacular fashion, and I also understand that opposing fans love to revel in Romo’s worst moments. However, without Romo this past season, the Cowboys wouldn’t have even been competitive.

Let’s consider a few things:

The Cowboys finished 31st in rushing yards this season.

Here were their rushing totals, by game:

Cowboys rushing yards

The league average for rushing yards per game in 2012 was 115.9. The Cowboys failed to reach that mark 13 times. They failed to break 100 rushing yards 11 times. They failed to even reach 50 yards 7 times.

Opposing teams knew the Cowboys were going to throw.

At times the Cowboys abandoned the run completely. That helped contribute to the meager rushing numbers in the chart above, but it should also be noted that when the Cowboys ran the ball, they averaged just 3.6 yards per carry, which tied them for second worst in the NFL. And so, I don’t want this to sound like I’m blaming Jason Garrett for not running the ball enough, because frankly, they couldn’t run it. Still, the Cowboys had a pass-run ratio of 65-35:

Team Rushing attempts Passing attempts Total plays Pass %
Lions 391 740 1131 65.4
Cowboys 355 658 1013 65
Saints 370 671 1041 64.5
Cardinals 352 608 960 63.3
Jaguars 358 586 944 62.7
Raiders 376 629 1005 62.6
Falcons 378 615 993 61.9
Eagles 413 618 1031 59.9
Titans 378 540 918 58.8
Colts 440 628 1068 58.8
Browns 396 566 962 58.8
Steelers 412 574 986 58.2
Buccaneers 416 566 982 57.6
Rams 410 557 967 57.6
Giants 409 539 948 56.9
Packers 433 558 991 56.3
Chargers 411 528 939 56.2
Ravens 444 560 1004 55.8
Bengals 430 540 970 55.7
Patriots 523 641 1164 55.1
Broncos 481 588 1069 55
Bills 442 511 953 53.6
Dolphins 440 504 944 53.4
Texans 508 554 1062 52.2
Panthers 462 490 952 51.5
Bears 470 485 955 50.8
Jets 494 493 987 49.9
Vikings 486 483 969 49.5
Chiefs 500 475 975 48.7
49ers 492 436 928 47
Redskins 519 442 961 46
Seahawks 536 405 941 43

Playing QB is already hard enough in the NFL, but when you become as one-dimensional as the Cowboys were last season, the ante is upped.

The Cowboys were 2nd in the NFL in penalties last season.

They had 138 penalties, or 8.6 per game. Doug Free led the league with 15, while Tyron Smith had 11, which tied him for 10th in the league. When you’re passing as much as the Cowboys were last season, this is what can happen. 2nd and 8 becomes either 2nd and 13, or worse, 2nd and 18. That’s added pressure on the QB.

The right side of the offensive line was very bad.

I’m looking at you, Doug Free and Mackenzy Bernadeau.

In summary…

If you can’t run it, you have to pass. When you pass too much, opposing defenses pin their ears back and attack the QB. When opposing defenses can pin their ears back and attack the QB, you commit penalties and the weak links along your OL are exposed. This typically leads to bad QB play.

However, in Romo’s case, he was great for the better part of 2012, with the exception of a few rare clunkers (Bears, Skins, etc).

But this is how Romo’s 2012 season will be remembered, which is fair.

Just know that Tony Romo carried the Cowboys on his back the entire season, without a lot of help from some of the circumstances around him. The Cowboys wouldn’t have sniffed 8 wins without him. His contract is deserved.


  1. Ryan says:

    Actually, if you read BtB, some of them (most noticably the creepy Romo fanboy Terry) believe Romo has not yet hit his prime, and actually is just going to keep getting better. Probably until his late 60’s at least.

  2. […] defending Romo’s prowess as one of the better NFL QBs. BGN’s favorite hack alumnus Jimmy Kempski highlights Romo’s value when he discusses how Romo essentially carried the 2012 Cowboys on his […]

    1. Deer Antler Spray says:

      hack alumnus? Who are these morons and who gave them keys to the internets?

  3. Real Talk says:

    McNabb mad & really wanted to be a Eagle 4life & not a McChoke4life!

  4. triplej says:

    Jerry Jones is an idiot; a very rich idiot though. Romo doesn’t even come close to being in the top 10 QB’s in the league. A stretch for him to make the top 15. So how can he give this kind of contract????

    1. poolboy87 says:


      Meet teakettle.

    2. Tim says:

      By any QB statistical measure (except postseason wins, but I’m talking individual measures here), Romo’s in the top 10 in the league:

      Contract’s a reaosnable one– it pays him ~$19M guaranteed per year for the next 3 years, and then the cap hits on cutting Romo are $5M in dead money or less, as I read it. He would have gotten far more in the open market.

      1. poolboy87 says:

        I can tell you right now that they’re not going to let Romo’s cap hits in ’14 and ’15 be as massive as they currently are.

        I believe Jimmy know’s what’s coming for Romo’s base salary next year:

  5. deg0ey says:

    To paraphrase a great man:

    He ain’t, go-in nowhere, he ain’t, goin’ nowhere
    He can’t be stopped now, ’cause he’s Cowboy for life

  6. Jeff says:

    Dallas didn’t run the ball well last year. You know the primary reason why Dallas had so few rushing attempts and thus rushing yards though?

    Because they played from behind all the time. A bunch of early giveaways combined with a bad defense (same since 2010) put them behind the 8 ball. They play catchup the entire game.

    1. Also averaged 3.6 per carry, tied for 2nd worst in the league. They couldn’t run it.

  7. Tracer Bullet says:

    If you want to say it’s a team game so it’s not Romo’s fault that that they’ve won one playoff game in a decade or so, that’s fine. But if you’re trying to justify guaranteeing $55 million to a 33-year-old QB who will probably be out of the league in three years and will almost certainly be out of the league in five, then I’m going to tell you to go jump in a lake.

    1. Why will he probably be out if the league in 3 years?

      1. DerfDiggy says:

        He’s speaking on emotion…forgetting that qbs play well into their 30s. Unless romo is seriously injured…his play as a qb should be decent enough for him to lead a team for another 4-5 years at least.

        1. Tracer Bullet says:

          What is “well into their 30s”? On opening day, there was one starting QB age 36 or older — Peyton Manning. Matt Hasselebeck started a few games when Ponder was hurt but he was cut after the season and Romo didn’t get that money to back-up the QBOTF. Romo might still be playing at 36, but odds are he won’t. Even if he is still playing, he isn’t likely to be playing at his current level.

          1. Disagree. Odds are he will, barring catastrophic injury. He hasn’t begun his decline yet, or really even hinted at it. That can certainly occur at any time, but he’s still playing very well. Big reason Peyton is the only really old guy standing is because the QB draft classes right around him were bad.

            Peyton was drafted in 1998. The only other QBs drafted near him who at one time in their careers were “Top 10” kind of guys were McNabb (1999), whose decline you could see a mile away, and Brady (2000), who will be 36 in August.

            Then you have Vick and Brees in 2001. Vick won’t make it to 36 as his decline is well underway, Brees probably will. And then there’s junk up until 2004 with Eli, Big Ben, etc.

            1. DerfDiggy says:


              There’s no reason a QB can’t play into his mid 30’s…Favre played(and played well at times) until he was what? 40?

              Cunningham well into his late 30s.

              Aikman played 12 years in the NFL.

              Chunky soup was throwing dirtballs until he was 36(I think?)

              Testeverde, Bledsoe, Etc…etc…etc

              QB’s have a pretty long lifespan…Romo doesn’t have much mileage on him as a starter…I think it’s safe to say he’ll play well until his 36th birthday.

      2. Fool says:

        Exactly. Romo will be around for a while. Not to mention he didn’t even start until he was 26–has far fewer seasons than a 33 year old QB who started in season 1. For example, look how broken down Carson Palmer (another 33 year old QB) is by comparison.

    2. Tim says:

      The first 3 years of the deal are guaranteed. $55M guaranteed, at about $18M per year. Sounds very reasonable for a franchise quarterback:

  8. Joe D says:

    I tend to agree with that assessment. He’s got all the intangibles for an elite QB he just has a huge penchant for blowing huge games he’s like the Spanish McNabb

  9. David_Does_Dallas says:

    Glad that is out of the way.

  10. DerfDiggy says:

    Clap clap clap. Great qb…prone to boneheaded mistakes…still underrated…and capable of a SB if given the tools(see. OL)

    This is Tony Romo.

  11. ct17 says:

    I thought only a judge could sentence you to Dallas for life.

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