Dallas Cowboys

Jerry Jones honored the do-right rule to the end with Tony Romo

FILE - In this Oct. 30, 2007, file photo, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, left, shakes hands with team owner Jerry Jones during a news conference at team headquarters in Irving, Texas. Romo retired on Tuesday and Jones did right by him by giving him his out-right release, which allows him to return to game with any team if has a change of heart.
FILE - In this Oct. 30, 2007, file photo, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, left, shakes hands with team owner Jerry Jones during a news conference at team headquarters in Irving, Texas. Romo retired on Tuesday and Jones did right by him by giving him his out-right release, which allows him to return to game with any team if has a change of heart. AP

When Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones first broached the do-right rule regarding Tony Romo it was about the strength of their relationship and why under no certain terms would his former starting quarterback end up with a division rival such as the Washington Redskins.

But as the so-called Romo hostage crisis seemed to go on without end, there were many who questioned whether Jones was actually doing right by Romo.

In the end, anyone who thought that didn't really understand the situation and was only basing their opinion on a negative impression of the seemingly greedy Jones.

The truth is that Romo had decisions to make himself about his future after losing his starting job to Dak Prescott last season. He wasn't pressed about the Jones' delay.

And when Romo officially walked away from football Tuesday to take a job in broadcasting with CBS Sports, it was Jones who helped make it happen as neatly and clean as possible by doing right by his favorite adopted son.

Romo retiring is one thing.

Jones giving him his out right release is another.

Certainly, it helps the Cowboys against the salary cap. If he retired, they would get $5.1 million immediately but be charged $19.6 million in dead money against the salary cap.

But giving him his releasing and designating it a post June 1 cut, the Cowboys get to split that dead money over the next two years _ $10.7 million in 2017 and $8.9 million in 2018.

The savings gives the Cowboys money sign their draft picks as well as flexibility to possibly sign guard Zack Martin to a long-term contract extension.

But the biggest winner is Romo.

Don't believe the notion that he asked the Cowboys to release him so he wouldn't have to pay back the prorated signing bonus of $5.1 million for retiring early. Romo said it, but don't believe it.

The Cowboys have a right to go after that money, but they never had any intentions of doing so. Just like they have no plans for going after money left in the retiring Doug Free's contract.

What it ultimately does for Romo is it gives him the freedom to return to football any time he wants.

If he retired without getting released, the Cowboys would have retained his rights.

But because he asked for and was granted his release by the Cowboys, he is free and clear to do as he pleases without Jones standing in his way.

Romo said on Tuesday that he was 99 percent sure that he was done playing football.

But didn't completely shut the door in a return.

He can thank Jones and his version of the do-right rule for having maximum flexibility in being able to exercise his option on that fleeting one percent.

The bottom line is that Romo and Jones have largely been on the same page and worked in concert regarding this decision from the beginning.

And they have a relationship that will last forever.

"I've never had a better boss, owner or mentor than Jerry Jones," Romo said on a conference to announce his hring by CBS. "I'd be remiss if I went through this entire conversation and never mentioned how much he's meant to me and how much he'll mean to me going forward because he'll always be in my life, and I'll always be in his."

Jones said the same thing last month when asked if had closure with Romo over his impending depature.

"That’s an appropriate word but an inappropriate word because I’d like to stick around a long time and I know he’s going to be around a long time and we won’t have any closure," Jones said. "We’ve got a relationship. Closure is not the word. What I would want to be doing is want to be seeing Tony – by the way, I would hope that Dak and I get to have the same kinds of years in the future. And I enjoy that with players that we were with the Cowboys 25 years ago. I enjoy that today with them. And it doesn’t impact other than to just remind me that in many cases you’re going to know these players for the rest of your life. And you’re going to spend the rest of your life with them. When you think of that that’s not closure. What that is is just the beginning."

From Romo friendly to the do-right rule, the Jones-Romo bond remains strong as ever.

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