Tony Romo's contract in the future

March, 5, 2014
Mar 5
2:00
PM ET
IRVING, Texas -- By restructuring Tony Romo's contract on Tuesday, the Dallas Cowboys almost guarantee they have to restructure it again in 2015.

Romo
Romo’s cap number in 2015 will move to $27.773 million as a result of the additional signing bonus created by the restructure. If you want to look at 2016, Romo’s projected cap number is $17.635 million but that would likely change by next offseason.

If the Cowboys stick with the same simple restructure process of Romo in 2015 and convert $16 million of Romo’s $17 million base salary, then they would add another $3.2 million in signing bonus proration per year in 2015-19.

Executive vice president Stephen Jones said it is a challenge to manage the cap with a quarterback with cap figures that are greater than $20 million. That’s putting it kindly.

Let’s say the 2015 cap goes up 10 percent to $146 million, which is possible but perhaps too high of a projection at this date. Romo’s cap number would chew up almost 19% of the cap. That’s a good percentage of the cap on one player, especially with the Cowboys needing to take care of Dez Bryant and Tyron Smith.

A few years ago Jones said the Cowboys would need DeMarcus Ware to play at least one season at a high cap number, but they continually restructured his contract and now the team finds itself unwilling to have their all-time leader in sacks count $16.003 million this year.

In a perfect world, the Cowboys would need Romo to play at least one year of this deal at a high cap number. Is it impossible? No, but it would limit what the Cowboys can do.

And if the Cowboys find themselves in a position where they want to part ways with Romo, they almost would have to do designate him as a post-June 1 cap casualty in 2015-18, which would spread out the accelerated signing bonus over two years.

To the Cowboys, this is simply the price of doing business in the NFL with an elite quarterback and that’s why winning now (a two-, three-year window) is so important.

Todd Archer

ESPN Dallas Cowboys reporter

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