Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is out for the season after fracturing his left collarbone for the second time this season and third time in his career.
This will mark third time in the past four years that he will head into the off-season facing rehab after back surgeries in 2012 and 2013.
Considering he is in his 13th year and will be 36 next season, questions about his future and how much longer he can still play are natural parts of any conversations concerning Romo go forward.
Yet, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones got testy when talk turned to Romo’s future with the team on his radio show on 105.3 The Fan Tuesday morning.
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Jones said Romo, who remains under contract until 2019, has four to five more years left in him and there is no debating that fact in his mind.
“Four to five years is how much longer I think his career [will go],” Jones said. “I think if you look at his playing time, if you look at the years he’s actually played – he started late – he really has strong skills relative to where his skill set began, what his skill set is, he’s got the relative skills. More important anything from a mental standpoint and the things that also you need so much at quarterback, he’s at the top of the list. So I think four to five years.”
Jones then bristled when challenged on Romo being able to play for four to five more years.
“This is not a damn debate, guys,” Jones said. “This is not a debate we’re having here. You do know that I don’t know if he’s got four or five years. You asked me my opinion. I can give you all the reasons why or I can give any other kind of injuries that are there. You’re asking me what I think, and I think we’ve got an outstanding quarterback ahead of us for the next four or five years. That’s not a downer. Will we be looking to develop talent behind Romo? Absolutely.”
Jones said the Cowboys will look to draft a quarterback to take over for Romo in the future, but it wouldn’t necessarily be a first-round pick.
Key to the equation for Jones and the Cowboys is Romo’s contract and the dead money associated with it if he left before 2018.
Romo would count $31,935,000 against the salary cap in 2016 in dead money if he walked away now.
That number would be $19,600,000 if he left before the 2017 season before dropping to more palatable number of $8.9 millioin and $3.2 million before 2018 and 2019.