Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Romo expected to trade gridiron for broadcast booth

Quarterback Tony Romo plans to pursue a career in broadcasting even if the Dallas Cowboys release him as expected.

ESPN's Adam Schefter, who is represented by the same agent who represents Romo, broke the story Tuesday. Sports Business Journal connected Romo to CBS as a replacement for the network's top NFL broadcast analyst, Phil Simms.

Romo played only for the Cowboys in his 14-year career.

Offseason speculation centered on Romo joining a new team with QB-needy teams downplaying their interest at last week's owners meetings. The Denver Broncos, Houston Texans and San Francisco 49ers were reportedly checking into the potential of adding Romo.

CBS and Romo have not signed the agreement, per Sports Business Journal, but the move is expected to be completed in a matter of days.

Of course, Romo's retirement could become more of a respite from playing football if the Cowboys or another team develop a need unexpectedly.

NFL Network reported Romo already discussed bailing out the Cowboys should they need him to return and play in 2017.

Should a playoff-caliber team encounter an emergency at the position, Romo could be enticed to punt the broadcasting plan.

Romo has three seasons remaining on his contract with the Cowboys. On Monday, Romo was given permission to talk to other teams, a signal Dallas wanted to pursue a trade.

Romo has made $127 million in his career, but injuries began taking a toll in recent years.

In 2016, Romo was sidelined in August by a fractured vertebrae and only played one series -- at Philadelphia in the regular season finale -- all season. It was only the latest in a run of major injuries: fractured collarbone (2015), spine (2014), herniated disc (2013).

If Romo files his retirement papers, and the Cowboys designated him a post-June 1 release, they would save $14 million against the 2017 salary cap.

Romo was scheduled to count $24.7 million against the Cowboys' cap in 2017. Instead, his charge would count $10.7 million and $8.9 million in 2018.

The 36-year-old lost his starting job in 2016 after a preseason back injury pushed rookie Dak Prescott into the No. 1 role with the Cowboys. Prescott went on an unexpected run and won Offensive Rookie of the Year, leading the Cowboys to the divisional playoff round where Dallas suffered a last-second loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Romo turns 37 on April 21 and a recent history of back issues likely played a factor in stepping away.

Romo is the all-time leading passer in Cowboys history with 34,183 yards and 248 TD passes.

His career record of 78-49 was overshadowed by failure in the playoffs. Dallas never advanced beyond the divisional playoffs in four appearances with Romo, who passed for 300-plus yards 46 times.

(Editing by Andrew Both)