Posted on March 31, 2017, by Travis Pulver
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is a heck of a businessman. To take a team that has been mediocre at best over the last couple decades and turn them into the most valuable sports franchise in the world takes talent. He certainly didn’t do it because he was concerned about “doing right” by anyone or anything other than his bank account.
Yes, football is a game that people become very passionate and have intense feelings over. But, at least at the NFL level, it is a business. The one thing you don’t do in business is help your competitors succeed. That is unless they are doing something to help you succeed in kind.
So, when word spread that the Dallas Cowboys were going to release Tony Romo before free agency starting, it was a nice move but also a surprising. It was nice that the team was going to let him continue his career elsewhere but surprising that they’d let him go without getting something for him.
Releasing Romo would not have been a good business move—which is why the Cowboys eventually changed their collective mind. They know Romo only wants to go to a contender that is a quarterback away from winning it all. But if Dallas just lets him go to one, that team could become a roadblock that the Cowboys may have to overcome at some point during the season.
How would that look? Dallas had him, gave him away, and he leads another team past Dallas? That would not be good, and it certainly would not be good for business.
But dumping the salary cap hit would be good business. Jerry Jones definitely wants to do that but—being the businessman that he is—would prefer to do so in a manner that still allows the Cowboys to gain something. Surely, one of the teams in need of a good quarterback will trade something in order to acquire the services of Tony Romo.
They probably would—if they didn’t know that the Cowboys are going to cut him loose eventually.
Of course, if Jerry Jones actually meant it when he said he was going to “do right” by Tony Romo then he would just cut the man loose already.
Jones knows enough about football to be familiar with the value time can hold for players as they learn a new system. In the case of quarterbacks, time is especially valuable because it takes time for a quarterback and his receivers to develop a relationship. It takes time to learn a new system and develop a rapport with a new coaching staff.
By not cutting Romo loose, Jones is not giving him a chance to do that with his new team. Yes, it can be done on the fly, but that means a higher chance Romo and his new team could struggle for a few weeks as he gets acclimated to the new offense and personnel.
If Jones wanted to do right by Romo, he would cut him loose now so that he could sign with a new team of his choosing sooner rather than later. But if he holds onto Romo, Jones keeps whatever team he eventually signs with from being as good as it can be with a quarterback of Romo’s caliber behind center.
The Texans and the Broncos, the two teams expected to have the most interest in Romo, have already said they have no interest in trading for Romo. But either could become a serious contender if they acquired him. If they are waiting for Jones to blink and release him, it doesn’t appear like that is going to happen.
When asked recently about a timetable on a decision about Romo’s future, Jones said before training camp.
“There’s no waiting game,” Jones said (SportsDay). “This is the offseason. We’re not missing doing anything. From the standpoint of the franchise and the Cowboys, nothing is being held up here at all.”
As far as the team is concerned, he is right. The team doesn’t need to move Romo. Heck, it wouldn’t suck to have him on the roster just in case. But for Romo, a guy who has made it clear wants to play, he is holding him up by not letting him go.
When asked if he is doing right by Romo, Jones gave a rather predictable response:
“Absolutely, yes, absolutely,” Jones said. “I’m completely satisfied with how he’s doing, and I have no reason to believe he’s not satisfied with how I’m doing.”
Hmm…on the same day this quote is shared with the world, we hear rumors that Romo is starting to get a little salty over how things have played out. It’s been reported that Romo is starting to distance himself from any teammates and coaches that are “Team Dak.”
A guy that is satisfied with how things are going does not do that. If how things have been handled so far hasn’t been enough to get him salty, one of the latest insinuations in the media should. Not only is Jones holding him back but he may be trying to push him into retirement. He doesn’t have to worry about Romo beating the Cowboys if Romo isn’t playing anymore.
It’s been leaked, that if Romo were to retire, the team would not try to recoup the $5 million portion of his signing bonus that counts toward this season. This is a standard practice for many teams, and the club has said the same in regards to Doug Free’s signing bonus. It just becomes funny in regards to Romo since he has not given any indication that he is considering walking away.
But maybe if they mention retirement enough and keep him from joining another team he’ll just say screw it and hang it up.
Jerry Jones can claim all he wants that Tony Romo’s interest is paramount to him, but his actions say something else. His actions are all about “doing right” by the Cowboys and nothing else.