Quarterback Tony Romo has not started throwing passes to receivers and likely will be limited when the Dallas Cowboys begin their off-season program in April 21.
Romo is ahead of schedule in his rehab from back surgery, owner Jerry Jones said Tuesday from the NFL owners meetings.
Romo had a herniated disk mended Dec. 27, forcing him to miss the Cowboys’ final game of the 2013 season.
“We expected him to be where he is now, and he is ahead of that,” Jones said. “He is ahead of expectations. Can he do the throwing motion? Is he doing the throwing motion? Yes. Is he out there throwing to receivers right now? No. He is not throwing to receivers.”
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Dez Bryant is in the final year of his contract, and the Cowboys say they want him around for a long time.
The tricky thing for Dallas is figuring out a contract extension and how to craft it given Bryant’s status as one of the league’s top receivers and his controversial past.
“That is contract talk,” owner Jerry Jones said. “As far as his ability to help us win as a player, he is an established player.”
Jones was then asked if Bryant needs to continue to adhere to strict rules he and his advisers set up before the 2012 season, including a curfew, counseling and a security detail on road games.
“He doesn’t need to drop his guard,” Jones said. “In some respect, none of us do.”
For the record, Bryant has not had any legal issues or any other controversy since he was charged with allegedly assaulting his mother in July 2012.
Misdemeanor family violence chargers were eventually dropped by the Dallas district attorney’s office after Bryant stayed out of trouble for a year and adhered to weekly counseling.
Bryant’s adviser, David Wells, has been in charge of managing his curfew and security detail.
The Cowboys got more than their money’s worth out of guard Ronald Leary last season.
Leary played in all 16 games at left guard and topped the Cowboys in performance-based pay in 2013.
The performance-based pay system is funded by the league, not individual teams, and supplements player compensation by comparing playing time to salary. Anyone who plays an official down is eligible to receive a bonus that season.
Leary earned an extra $307,104.43, the third-highest amount in the league. It reflects how high the Cowboys were on him when they signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Memphis in 2012, hours after the draft. The Cowboys paid him their highest signing bonus for an undrafted player that year.
Leary won the job in training camp last year but goes into this year penciled in as the starter.
The NFL’s highest performance bonus belonged to Chicago Bears tackle Jordan Mills ($318,243.96).
Jeff Heath, also an undrafted player who wound up starting at safety because of injury, earned the second-most in performance pay on the Cowboys, picking up $247,273.09.