“Crazy times,’’ Tony Romo called these last few days as he contemplates his Dallas Cowboys farewell.
A farewell via retirement? Not so crazy.
I’ve written this and broadcast this since mid-February, and now that the concept is gaining some national-media traction, it’s time for a Romo Retirement Redux … Questions-and-Answers-style:
1) Is retirement what Romo wants?
No. What he wants is to have multiple teams banging on his door, wanting to give up bounties in trade for him, willing to give him big guaranteed money and Super Bowl glory. Oh, and a white stallion would be nice.
The realities of the moment? Despite Jerry Jones’ skillful ability to actual get ESPN to write that a trade is “expected,’’ there is no great clamor here.
And if the next situation isn’t right? Retirement might be.
2) Does retirement help the Cowboys?
Very much. For one thing, it allows owner Jerry Jones (and Romo himself) to save face after this daringly silly change of plans that saw the two men forge a noontime Wednesday agreement for Romo to be a June 1 designee cut to the revelation Thursday that the Cowboys might hold tight in hopes that the Broncos and Texans would get in a trade-minded bidding war for the services of the 37-year-old QB.
Maybe Jerry overrated the value here. Maybe Romo did, too.
The post-June 1 cut would’ve given/would give Dallas $14 million of cap room (usable only after June 1). It represented (and still can represent) a clean break, with no future financial issues. (Details here.)
A retirement, instead?
Cap-wise, and to make the explanation simple, retirement is treated the same way as a trade or an outright release. The Cowboys would save $5.1 million of cap space by Romo retiring. There is other cap trickery available, but the biggest benefit, besides the $5.1 mil, is this:
Romo retires a Cowboy. His legacy is his legacy. No risks of failure in Denver or Houston (or Washington) … and no risks of him coming back to haunt the Joneses, either.
3) What would Tony do in retirement?
As I’ve stated before, four networks would offer him jobs. CBS’s Jim Nantz, is a pal; they might offer NFL and golf. (ESPN's Adam Schefter is now re-breaking this info). But we wrote it on Nov. 16 here and both wrote it and broadcast it on 105.3 The Fan on Feb. 17 here.
Additionally, Romo has endless business connections and opportunities that include Hollywood. No, not as an actor (have you seen him act?!) … but as a producer, an investor. Fun stuff.
Oh, and he’s got a third baby boy on the way, due at the start of the 2017 regular season. If Candice get a vote — and she does — well, it’d be nice to have Daddy home.
4) Could he retire and then come back to the Cowboys later if needed?
This is a marvelous fantasy probably shared by Tony and Jerry. But for the same reason Dallas can't keep both Dak Prescott and Romo now (it's a bitter controversy waiting to fester), they can't do something similar later. Dak gets hurt for a month so Tony comes off the golf course and to the rescue? Why did you just sign Josh McCown or Kellen Moore or whomever? How are all the ruffled feathers (see below) unruffled?
This isn't fantasy football and this isn't Madden and this isn't your old baseball cards in a shoebox under the bed. These are real people, real emotions, real conflicts.
No, you don't get to be the prom king AGAIN after you graduate.
5) What the timetable here?
I can tell you that the Romo camp doesn’t want him dangling in the wind forever. Check back on about Tuesday to see if there is no movement … and then unrest in the form of damaging media “leaks’’ and social-media shade. (Romo’s “goodbye’’ video was shot with the purpose of publishing in coordination with the June 1 cut he and Jerry had agreed to. When the Cowboys reneged on/delayed the decision, Romo released the video, anyway.
Shade. Passive-aggressive shade.
In the end, Romo and the Joneses family have a relationship that is invaluable to both. They will iron this out. (The Romo/Jason Garrett relationship, though? The wrinkles are speed bumps. Harder to iron out speed bumps.) Those who keep writing, “This is a business!’’ or “Romo’s just an employee!’’ simply do not understand the familial ties here.
Now, in Houston or Denver or Washington or wherever, maybe Romo would be “just an employee.’’ And maybe that’s one of the issues Tony is weighing here. He’s been the “prom king’’ in DFW for a decade. What happens when the music stops?
In that goodbye video, Romo intentionally played the Bob Dylan classic, "The Times They Are a-Changin’” in the background. It was meant at as a subtle message to the viewer about, I think, criticism and competition.
Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin
"We have a lot to think about going forward,’’ Romo said in the foreground, “but we'll see what happens.’’
There are only a handful of things that can happen now. And one of them is retirement.