Romo's Re-Do: Why Now?

IRVING, Tex. - I have no intention of breaking up the rose-petals-and-chocolates aura presently surrounding Tony Romo, who is either getting engaged to Carrie Underwood, or breaking up with Carrie Underwood, or waiting for America to vote on whether she gets to remain on his island...

All while judging beauties and hosting rock concerts and saying his Cowboys have "a shot at winning the whole thing.''

My long-time agent friend isn't trying to stain the halo, either. But as a guy who has worked on dozens and dozens of NFL contracts with Dallas and other teams, he does want to know:

Why are the Dallas Cowboys preparing to pay the kid somewhere around 50 million dollars?

"I don't understand Jerry's motivation here,'' says the agent, who doesn't want to stick his nose (i.e., his name) in too far. "Nothing against Tony. And I'm a Jerry guy. But what's the motivation for the Cowboys? What do they get from doing it now?''

I argued with the agent that the Cowboys obviously have complete faith in Romo's ability, so many doing it now vs. doing it later is a moot argument to them.

"How many games has he started? You can think you know, but why not buy time until you're more sure?'' the agent asked. "Won't you have a better feel after 12 games? After 13 games?''

I argued with the agent that maybe they want to do a deal before other QBs get signed up, thus jacking up the price.

"The Matt Schaub thing (in Houston), that was for what? (Six years, $48 mil). That pretty much sets the bar,'' the agent said. "What other deals are on the horizon? Nah, that deal is going to be the foundation of the Romo talks.''

I argued with the agent that paying for Romo – already a Pro Bowler -- might become more expensive if he has a brilliant season.

"I assume they already think he's going to be great, or they wouldn't be doing it now,'' the agent said. "For one thing, how great is he going to be? Yeah, to try to project that. … and they think he's going to be as great as they're already thinking of paying him. Besides, if he turns into Brett Favre, Jerry will be happy to pay for that. No downside there.' Believe me, Jerry won't be complaining about paying a great, great quarterback.'

I argued with the agent that maybe giving him a contract now provides a boost of confidence for Romo, or ups his comfort level.

"Geez, they already passed on (drafting Brady Quinn), they already gave him the starting job, they already are tailoring things to him,'' the agent said, not even bringing up the "colorfulness'' thing. "How much love does he need?''

The agent made one related point:

"Didn't they just give him a new (two-year) deal last summer? Doesn't he have $2 million coming to him this year? ($1.5 mil, actually, as part of a $3.9 mil contract.) That's not bad for a guy with 11 starts.''

I argued with the agent that it could conceivably be a distraction, a source of tension, to the organization and to the quarterback to be engaged in contract negotiations during the season.

"You're the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys!'' the agent said. "You bet there's tension. All the more reason I'd like to see more of Romo before I did this. Besides, if you're going to pay a guy $7 million a year, he'd better be worth it and he'd better be able to handle the pressure and the distractions that come with it.''

My agent friend was quick to again say he's an admirer of Jerry Jones and the Cowboys -- he's worked with them for almost 20 years -- and that he's a believer in Tony Romo. (I told the agent, as I'm telling you, that I feel the same way about Jones and the team and have certainly come around on Romo.) But he thinks it would be a bad idea for Romo to try to play hardball here, as often ends up happening in any negotiations. And he simply thinks it would be a bad idea for the Cowboys to make an unnecessary commitment.

"You usually renegotiate because there is a real reason to, because there is leverage,'' the agent said. "Nobody has any leverage here. Nobody has any traction here. It seems sort of out of the blue.''

I argued. … but then I quit arguing.

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