Tony Romo should have taken one for the team

03/13/2013 9:20 PM

03/14/2013 2:56 PM

We all know Tony. He doesn’t exactly fret over public perception.

Mr. Romo is gonna do what Mr. Romo is gonna do, regardless of where the perception chips may fall.

He went to Cabo that time.

And he had that “if this is the worst thing that ever happens to me  ” unfortunate quote after that elimination game in Philly a few years back.

Then, of course, there’s the golf, always the golf, and his devotion, plus skill, at that game is always a sticky issue with the CowSheep, who want the three-sixty-five kind of dedication to football.

(By the way, Romo also plays a lot of pickup basketball and even some soccer. It’s not like his non-football activity is stuck on golf, golf and more golf, or that golf is to blame for the three picks in Washington.)

But here we go again this week in the case of Tony vs. public perception.

Man, Romo could have scored some heavy public points by going “Brady” in the ongoing negotiations with Jerry Jones over a fat new quarterbacking contract.

Take one for the team, Tony. With free agency in the NFL having opened on Tuesday, why wouldn’t a soon-to-be 33-year-old quarterback with only one playoff win on his long résumé take a “team-friendly” deal, therefore allowing the cap-strapped Cowboys to free up salary-cap space to add talent around Romo?

But Tony, of course, is gonna do what Tony is gonna do.

Tuesday came and went, free agents were being signed up all over the NFL, and Jerry just sat there at Valley Ranch with his thumb up a nostril.

The Cowboys managed this week to squeeze under the cap, as required by league law, but at last count, I think they have something like 5 bucks, maybe 10, to spend on free agents.

OK, that’s one side of the public perception story.

The other side:

Tom Brady received almost biblical media praise a couple of weeks ago for agreeing to a “team-friendly” contract with his Patriots, meaning the Pats could get creative in the off-season.

Then, of course, the details of the deal came out. For his generosity, Brady still won’t miss one trendy jet-setting off-season vacation. His guaranteed money was $33 million.

Yes, the deal is structured in a team-friendly kind of way, but Tom got his.

Also, no matter what kind of deal Romo eventually signs with the Cowboys, it’s not going to open the free-agency vault for the Cowboys. He counts a whopping $16.8 million against the cap right now, but even the best kind of new contract from a team standpoint can be expected to free up only $5-plus million, maybe $6 million.

The Cowboys are still stuck in a cap trap, no matter what kind of contract Romo receives. Remember all that when the deal is eventually done and the guaranteed money for Tony reaches $40 million and probably beyond.

Regardless, the opportunity for public perception points came and went this week. Both Romo and the Cowboys could have tied a contractual agreement into the “team-friendly” message. The fandom would have loved that.

The negotiations continue, however, probably because this will be Romo’s last chance to cash in heavily and his new negotiating agent, R.J. Gonser, knows he’s being watched closely by other agents.

We can all assume there’s some hardball negotiations going on, or otherwise this deal would have been done by now. Mr. Jones has been extremely open in saying Romo will be the quarterback here for many seasons to come.

Despite that, I have suggested Mr. Jones take a new and tougher approach with Romo:

“Flacco” him.

That means, with the Cowboys already under the cap, find additional money in other ways and then tell Romo he will be playing out the final year of his current contract with no new deal.

Joe Flacco didn’t like the Ravens’ offer a year ago, played out the final year of his contract, ended up winning the Super Bowl, and last week became the richest quarterback in the league.

A “contract year” performance is usually good motivation. It would be interesting to see how Tony would handle it.

Any chance of that happening?

I loved the answer a friend close to the Romo situation gave on Wednesday:

“I’m sure that has been discussed by people at Valley Ranch, but none of those people are named Jones.”

The gamble for Jerry is if Romo had a great season and the Cowboys advanced deep in the playoffs (yes, this is pure speculation) then the quarterback could move on.

But for a team that hasn’t seen the sunny side of .500 in three years, is it really a gamble?

The fact that Tony skated this week on the opportunity to score public perception points continues a long personal trend. He doesn’t care about perception.

In reality, you won’t find a more devoted team guy. It’s just that Tony doesn’t want you to know it.

Randy Galloway can be heard 3-6 p.m. weekdays on Galloway & Co. on ESPN/103.3 FM.

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