Commentary

Tony Romo is positioned to cash in

Don't be surprised when Cowboys put QB in financial territory of Drew Brees

Updated: July 20, 2012, 4:42 PM ET
By Jean-Jacques Taylor | ESPNDallas.com

So many of y'all can't stand Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, for a myriad of reasons.

Some valid, some ridiculous.

Those of you who think the Cowboys will never win a title with Romo at the helm had better get used to the idea that he's going to end his career wearing a blue star on the side of his helmet.

Jerry Jones loves him. So does Jason Garrett.

They should.

[+] EnlargeTony Romo and Jerry Jones
AP Photo/Tony GutierrezExpect Jerry Jones to write a very large check to keep Tony Romo with the Cowboys.

Romo is among the NFL's best quarterbacks, no matter which standard you choose to judge them. We all understand he's not in the top group with Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and a couple of others.

But he's certainly on the next level with players such as Philip Rivers, Michael Vick and Joe Flacco.

And that's why you shouldn't be shocked by Romo's next contract -- the one that's going to provide him with about $25 million guaranteed in the first season.

Uh huh. That's right.

Romo is signed through 2016, but the final three years of his deal will void after the 2013 season.

In pro sports, contracts are about leverage and timing. Based on what we know right now, Romo has all the leverage.

The Cowboys' quarterback of the future isn't on the current roster -- no matter how much you might respect Kyle Orton -- and Romo seems to be entering his prime as a player.

The 32-year-old passed for 4,184 yards with 31 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and a 102.5 passer rating in 2011.

If Brees just signed a five-year, $100 million deal that guarantees him $40 million in his first season and $60 million in the first three seasons, it's fair to assume Romo is going to get 60 percent to 70 percent of that guaranteed cash -- even if the Cowboys don't win a playoff game for the 17th time in 18 seasons.

And if the Cowboys somehow advance to the NFC Championship Game or beyond, Romo's total deal will surpass Brees' contract because he'll get a six- or seven-year contract.

Seriously.

After all, Romo didn't start a single game until the sixth game of his fourth season, so he's a player with minimal wear and tear.

Besides, we all know quarterbacks such as John Elway, Brett Favre and Kurt Warner were effective into their late 30s.

So there's no reason to think Romo isn't going to get a deal in the same zip code as Brees' contract.

Laugh if you must. Scoff if you want. But that's what's going to happen.

We're talking about a dude who excelled last season with a shoddy offensive line and limited weapons.

Receivers Miles Austin and Dez Bryant played just nine games together, and running backs DeMarco Murray and Felix Jones combined to miss seven games.

For those of you who think Romo is the problem, you'd be shocked by what type of dollars he'd command as an unrestricted free agent.

And that's why he'll never get an opportunity to experience free agency. If the Cowboys franchised him, he'd earn about $20 million.

With a long-term deal, whenever it happens, the Cowboys will at least be able to spread out the cap impact over the length of the contract.

If Romo gets some help from Rob Ryan's defense and the revamped offensive line, you'll get an opportunity to see just how well he can play.

Romo is 47-30 as a starter, but he has just one playoff win. If he can match that total or double it this season, perhaps you'll accept him as one of the finest quarterbacks in franchise history, instead of whining about his love of golf and wearing his baseball cap backward during interviews.

You might as well get used to the idea, because he's not going anywhere anytime soon. Jerry will see to that.

Just don't be be shocked by the level of Jerry's commitment to Romo. You've been warned.

Jean-Jacques Taylor joined ESPNDallas.com in August 2011. A native of Dallas, Taylor spent the past 20 years writing for The Dallas Morning News, where he covered high schools sports, the Texas Rangers and spent 11 seasons covering the Dallas Cowboys before becoming a general columnist in 2006.

ALSO SEE