According to reports from ESPN's Adam Schefter and several Cowboys' beat reporters, Tony Romo's separation saga is over. The Dallas Cowboys quarterback, held in limbo for almost a month following the team's decision to hold onto his rights in order to pursue a trade after deciding to release him, will retire from the NFL in order to pursue a broadcasting career.
On March 8, rumors emerged from the Cowboys camp that Romo, who was the team's starting quarterback for a decade before being deposed by Dak Prescott in 2016, would be released the next day. That didn't happen, as Cowboys owner Jerry Jones pulled the plug on the release at the last second. Jones wanted to trade Romo, and believed he could leverage interest from the Broncos and Texans into a draft pick. That didn't happen either, as both teams were content to play wait and see.
Now, it appears that neither Denver nor Houston — or any other team — will get a shot at Romo's services.
Romo, who is expected to
join a network studio show replace Phil Simms on CBS' primary NFL broadcast team, leaves a complicated legacy. He will retire holding every major Cowboys passing record, but only having won two playoff games. He'll be remembered for his best moments, like his stirring comeback in the 2014 postseason against the Lions or the time he beat the Redskins with a broken back, and his worst, like his infamous dropped snap in Seattle during the 2006 playoffs or his three turnovers in the 2009 divisional round against the Vikings. Some Cowboys fans will always love Romo for the good humor he showed during his time with the team, others will never forgive him for going to Mexico with Jessica Simpson the week before the 2007 playoffs began.
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Romo, in many ways, will retire as a Rorschach test for Dallas sports fans. He is either the gunslinger stuck with bad teams and worse coaches who never got his due for dragging the Cowboys as far as he did, or an injury-prone prima donna who was utterly incapable of turning in a big performance when it mattered most. The truth, as it always does, lies somewhere in the middle. Romo will always be the QB who could do this:
My favorite Romo play. Ever. pic.twitter.com/tT7uj45EBu— ✭ DCBlueStar ✭ (@DCBlueStar) November 16, 2016
But he was also just as capable of throwing late-game, back-breaking interceptions, as he did during the last game of the 2012 regular season, costing the Cowboys a playoff spot.
Romo's retirement won't change the Cowboys' salary cap situation. Just as it would've been had Romo been released, the quarterback's cap hit will be spread over the next two seasons. The Cowboys will realize an additional $14 million in space for this season on June 2. Thanks to previous contract restructuring, Romo will count almost $11 million on the Cowboys 2018 cap, before going off the books in 2019.