Romo Signs 6-Year Extension For $108 Million
March 29, 2013 04:25 PM | Nick Eatman
IRVING, Texas – It’s been the biggest storyline of the offseason and according to multiple reports and sources, the end is seemingly near.
The Cowboys have agreed to terms with Tony Romo on a six-year contract extension worth $108 million, including about $55 million guaranteed.
The contract pays Romo more than $17 million per season, putting him just outside the top five among highest-paid quarterbacks in the league. Recently, Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco received just $52 million in guaranteed cash. “It just takes a little bit of time to figure out exactly what everyone’s comfortable with,” Romo said. “The Joneses were incredible in this whole process. It’s just a great feeling to know you’re going to finish out your career here, especially the way our team is. We’re a team on the rise. I’ve been around teams from both sides, teams that were good and teams that were not so good. If we’d have stayed healthy last year, I think we were that team that was continuing to get better. But we’re a team on the rise, and it’s going to show here going forward.”
Owner/general manager Jerry Jones said in a statement that Romo will have a significant level of input and contribution to the planning and implementing of the offensive approach in the meeting room and on the field.
“This is a significant day in terms of securing stability for our team for the future,” Jones said. “Tony is uniquely qualified to lead this team at the quarterback position for the next several years. He has an abundance of experience and familiarity with our offensive philosophy, our head coach and the personnel around him. He is moving into a period of time where he can maximize all of his natural skills while continuing to build upon the talents that he has developed since entering the NFL.”
Despite not signing Romo earlier, the Cowboys have been able to get under the salary cap, shaving off more than $35 million in cap space to do things such as sign Anthony Spencer to a franchise tag, and sign a pair of veteran free agents this week.
Romo was scheduled to count 16.8 million on the salary cap and any deal worked out will lower his cap charge for 2013, freeing up some cash to potentially sign other free agents. So far, the Cowboys have re-signed L.P. Ladouceur and Ernie Sims, as well as veterans Will Allen and Justin Durant. But this type of room should allow the Cowboys to be players with most available free agents still on the market.
“I think part of getting the deal done was that we could sign some people,” Romo said. “I don’t think we were planning on being big spenders early on, but there’s a lot of guys out there that we hopefully can add a few pieces that make us a better football team. I think with all the injuries and the people coming back there and then a couple additions and the draft and some of the other changes we’re making over here, I think it’s going to be a lot of good stuff. It’s going to be a team that can win and a team that can win a lot early.”
Romo had one year remaining on his contract that expires after the 2013 season, when he was expected to earn $11.5 million. He signed this contract back in 2007 but has re-negotiated and re-structured the deal twice to help the Cowboys with cap space over the years.
Last year, Romo threw a career-high 648 passes, but his quarterback rating of 90.5 was the lowest of his career.
IRVING, Texas – At the start of Wednesday’s business day, the Cowboys had yet to sign a new free agent from another club.
By lunchtime, they had two new players.
The latest free agent to sign was veteran safety Will Allen, who spent the last three years with the Steelers and the previous six with Tampa Bay. Allen has just 33 starts of the 130 games in his career.
Still, he could provide stability and experience at a position of need and uncertainty. The Cowboys cut Gerald Sensabaugh to save money on the salary cap and have a pair of players returning from injuries in Barry Church and Matt Johnson.
The Cowboys likely picked Allen over Michael Huff, who also visited Valley Ranch on Monday. Huff later signed with the Ravens for $2 million per season to be the primary replacement for future Hall of Famer Ed Reed. Since the Cowboys are likely looking for a cheaper solution to their safety needs, it appears Allen was a better fit.
To make room for Allen on the cap, the Cowboys waived Anthony Armstrong, a speedy receiver they had on the roster last season before cutting him in late December. After the regular season concluded, the Cowboys re-signed Armstrong with the hope he could fully learn the offense this offseason and possibly provide a deep-threat option. While he was cut Wednesday, Armstrong might remain in the plans this season. His $630,000 base salary was needed to clear space on the cap but he could rejoin the team if/when the Cowboys sign Tony Romo to a long-term contract that will open up millions of dollars on the 2013 cap.
Earlier in the morning, the Cowboys officially signed linebacker Justin Durant to a two-year deal. Durant will likely compete for a starting job at outside backer in the 4-3 scheme. He spent the last two year in Detroit, where he had 103 tackles in 2012. He originally started his career in Jacksonville, where he was a second-round pick out of Hampton in 2007. Durant has 68 career starts in his six pro seasons.
To make that deal happen, the Cowboys restructured backup quarterback Kyle Orton’s contract, freeing up about $340,000 in cap space.
With these two deals, the Cowboys now have about $25,000 remaining on the cap for 2013.
View photos of Will Allen & Justin Durant on their previous teams >>
The Dallas Cowboys restructured back-up quarterback Kyle Orton’s contract and released wide receiver Anthony Armstrong to open up some much needed salary cap space today. They then immediately turned around and signed linebacker Justin Durant and safety Will Allen.
Durant was a second round pick in 2007 who spent his first four years in the league with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He then play two solid seasons with the Detroit Lions before agreeing to a two year contract with the Cowboys today. Durant has experience in the 4-3 and is expected to compete for the starting outside linebacker job against Kyle Wilber and Alex Albright.
Allen is a career back-up who started his NFL career under current Dallas defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin in Tampa Bay. He spent his first six seasons with the Bucs and the last three with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Allen proved to be a valuable back-up in Pittsburgh last season with the various injuries suffered by starters Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark. He will compete for the starting safety job as Dallas released long time safety Gerald Sensabaugh earlier this off-season. Allen had his best season under Kiffin in Tampa Bay back in 2006, earning 77 total tackles in 16 games.
|March 2-3||–||Regional Combine, Atlantic Health Jets Training Facility, New York/New Jersey|
|March 9||–||Regional Combine, One Buccaneer Place, Tampa, Florida|
|March 10||–||Regional Combine, Halas Hall (Bears), Chicago, Illinois|
|March 9-11||–||Clubs are permitted to enter into contract negotiations with certified agents of players who will be Unrestricted Free Agents at the end of the current League Year.|
|March 12||–||Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must exercise options for 2013 on all players who have option clauses in their 2012 contracts.|
|March 12||–||Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must submit Qualifying Offers to their Restricted Free Agents with expiring contracts and to whom they desire to retain a Right of First Refusal/Compensation.|
|March 12||–||Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must submit a minimum salary offer to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2012 contracts and who have fewer than three seasons of free agency credit.|
|March 12||–||All 2012 player contracts will expire at 4:00 p.m., New York time.|
|March 12||–||Top-51 Begins. All clubs must be under the Salary Cap prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time.|
|March 12||–||The 2013 League Year and Free Agency period begin at 4:00 p.m., New York time.|
|March 12||–||Trading period begins at 4:00 p.m., New York time, for 2013 after expiration of all 2012 contracts.|
|March 16-17||–||Regional Combine, Atlanta Falcons Training Facility, Atlanta, Georgia|
|March 17-20||–||Annual League Meeting, The Biltmore, Phoenix, Arizona.|
|March 23-24||–||Regional Combine, Virginia Mason Athletic Center (Seahawks), Seattle, Washington|
|March 23-24||–||Regional Combine, Baltimore Ravens Training Facility, Baltimore, Maryland|
|April 7-8||–||Super Regional Combine, Cowboys Stadium, Dallas, Texas|
|April 25-27||–||NFL Draft, New York City, New York.|
|May 20-22||–||NFL Spring League Meeting, Hyatt-Harborside, Boston, Massachusetts.|
|September 5, 8-9||–||NFL Kickoff 2013|
|September 29||–||NFL International Series, London, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Minnesota Vikings|
|October 27||–||NFL International Series, London, San Francisco 49ers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars|
While the NFL playoffs are just about to begin, all eyes are already on next season for the Lions. This means it’s time to start looking at things like coaching changes, free agency and the 2013 NFL Draft. Actual on-field activities will only return with OTAs and minicamps later in the offseason. For now, the main focus is on putting together a roster and coaching staff capable of getting the Lions back to the playoffs next season.
Earlier this week, the NFL released its 2013 offseason schedule. It includes quite a few important dates that are worth marking on your calendar, and I have highlighted them below.
Jan. 15: Deadline for underclassmen to enter 2013 NFL Draft
Jan. 19: East-West Shrine Game (Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL)
Jan. 24-25: Regional Combine (University of Hawaii in Honolulu, HI)
Jan. 26: Senior Bowl (Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, AL)
Jan. 27: Pro Bowl (Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, HI)
Feb. 2: Texas vs. Nation College All-Star Game (Eagle Stadium in Allen, TX)
Feb. 3: Super Bowl XLVII (Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA)
Feb. 9-10: Regional Combine (Orange Coast College in Los Angeles, CA)
Feb. 16: Regional Combine (Methodist Training Center in Houston, TX)
Feb. 17: Regional Combine (Cleveland Browns Training Facility in Cleveland, OH)
Feb. 20-26: NFL Combine (Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN)
March 2-3: Regional Combine (Atlantic Health Jets Training Facility in Florham Park, NJ)
March 9: Regional Combine (One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, FL)
March 9-11: Teams can begin negotiating with the agents of players set to become unrestricted free agents at the start of the league year (teams can only talk to agents and not the players during this negotiating window)
March 10: Regional Combine (Halas Hall in Chicago, IL)
March 12: 2013 League Year begins at 4 p.m. ET, opening free agency and the trading period
March 16-17: Regional Combine (Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Atlanta, GA)
March 17-20: Annual League Meeting (The Biltmore in Phoenix, AZ)
March 23-24: Regional Combine (Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton, WA)
March 23-24: Regional Combine (Baltimore Ravens Training Facility in Baltimore, MD)
April 7-8: Super Regional Combine (Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX)
April 25-27: 2013 NFL Draft (in New York City, NY)
May 20-22: NFL Spring League Meeting (Hyatt Harborside in Boston, MA)
Dates for OTAs, minicamps and the start of training camp won’t be announced until later in the offseason. However, assuming the schedule is similar to last year, expect the Lions to hold OTAs in late May and early June, their rookie minicamp in early May and their full-team minicamp in mid-June. Also, expect training camp to begin at the end of July.
Basically, the only real change to the offseason schedule this year is the three-day negotiating period before the start of free agency. While teams can only talk to the agents of impending free agents, it will allow for negotiations to begin before free agency actually opens. This means that you should expect the free agency rumors to get started a few days earlier than usual.