Tony Romo

This Date In Transactions History: Cowboys Release Tony Romo

Five years ago today, the Cowboys released longtime quarterback Tony Romo. At least, that’s how the official record reads. Romo — who had ceded the starting job to rookie Dak Prescott in 2016 — retired in order to begin his broadcasting career. 

“We wish Tony and his family nothing but the best,” said Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. “As an organization, we did what he asked us to do in terms of his release, and we wanted to do what was ultimately in his best interest and in the best interest of his family. Tony has been a wonderful representative of the Cowboys organization for 14 years, and he left everything he had on the field. He will leave us with many great memories and a legacy of being, truly, one of the greatest players in Cowboys history. We are thrilled for him and his family that he will be able to continue working as a professional in the game he so dearly loves. He is a young man who is just getting started on a long journey in life. All the best my friend.”

Romo, who was on the verge of his 37th birthday, took over for Phil Simms at CBS. His health, he said, wouldn’t allow him to continue playing football. Still, even with his surgically-repaired back, the nature of his retirement led to lots of speculation. After the Cowboys granted his release, Romo was now free to sign with any team. At one point, he considered joining up with the Jets, but ultimately declined. Over the summer, Romo continued to leave the door open ever so slightly, saying that he wouldn’t rule out returning to the Cowboys in an emergency situation. That emergency call never came in though, and Romo has been in the booth ever since.

In effect, this all played out as a standard retirement. Romo didn’t leave the game exactly the way he wanted to, but he did complete a league-high 69.9% of his passes in 2014, his last full season. All in all, Romo collected four Pro Bowl nods over the course of his career in Dallas while earning upwards of $127MM in NFL earnings alone.

Tony Romo To Hold Off On Coaching

Someday, Tony Romo hopes to be a coach, as David Moore of the Dallas Morning News tweets. But, for now, Romo likes being in the broadcast booth, which means that Cowboys fans hoping to see him as the team’s new offensive coordinator will have to cool their jets. 

[RELATED: Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott Considering Holdout?]

Well, they’ll have to wait,” Romo said. “I’m sure one day I’ll coach. Right now, I’m happy with where I’m at.”

Romo retired from playing before the 2017 season, but the NFL world wasn’t convinced that his on-field days were over. Two years later, Romo has one of the top jobs in sports broadcasting, and pressure is mounting for him to take a job on the sidelines.

Romo admits his interest in coaching, but it’ll be hard for him to walk away from his current gig at CBS. Romo reportedly earns $4MM/year from the network and he’s expected to earn a significant bump on his next extension. If Romo earns, say, $6MM/year on his new CBS deal, it’s hard to imagine an NFL team topping that salary to hire him as an offensive coordinator.

Tony Romo Considered Jets

Before Tony Romo took a job with CBS, he mulled some options in the NFL. The lowly Jets were among those clubs, although they were not his top choice. Tony Romo (vertical)

I took a look at them,” Romo said (via Darryl Slater of “I‘m not going to say if they were in the final four. But I did take a look. I went through a lot of teams. There was a lot of discussion. I had narrowed the focus to about four teams. From there, obviously, I made the decision to come to CBS. I felt like the opportunity was just too big to pass up.”

Romo says he is focused on his new gig in the broadcast booth and he reportedly will only consider an NFL return if Dak Prescott gets injured and he gets a call from the Cowboys. The 37-year-old weighed other options and at least thought about playing in the country’s largest media market, but it would have been a shocker if he bypassed one of the league’s best broadcasting jobs to play for a team with little chance of making the postseason.

Unable to land Romo, the Jets will forge ahead with veteran Josh McCown as their starter. For what it’s worth, Romo applauds the Jets for giving the job to McCown over Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty. He also doesn’t think the Jets will be as awful as most pundits predict.

They can be less bad,” said Romo. “That [McCown starting] is in the best interest of the team. It’s a good thing for them, to send the message to everybody: We’re trying to win in Week 1 and this season. The NFL is a very finite thing between being good and bad. They have some pieces. They’re a little bit away.”

Tony Romo Would Only Return For Cowboys

Tony Romo would only return to the NFL if Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott suffers an injury and Dallas is in need of a quarterback, according to Adam Schefter of (Twitter link), who labels Romo a “break-the-glass emergency [option]” for the Cowboys.Tony Romo (vertical)

While Jay Cutler put off a broadcasting career in order to sign with the Dolphins this week, Romo doesn’t sound as willing to return to the league. However, he has vacillated on the subject of complete retirement this offseason. In mid-July, Romo said he was “done” playing football, but just eight days later he left the door open a crack, saying he was only “99.9% done”. It’s a fine distinction, but one that seems to leave a window for a potential comeback, especially given that Romo hasn’t officially filed retirement papers.

The Cowboys no longer hold Romo’s rights after releasing him following his retirement announcement, meaning Romo could technically sign with any club. But he was never mentioned as a possible solution for Miami after Ryan Tannehill‘s knee injury, and other clubs such as the Broncos may be out of luck if Romo only wants to play for Dallas. Kellen Moore and Luke McCown currently represent the backup options behind Prescott, so Romo would clearly offer an improvement if Prescott were to go down during the season.

Unless Romo decides to return to the field, he’ll serve as the No. 1 color commentator for CBS, working alongside Jim Nantz.

Extra Points: Garoppolo, Bell, Romo

In an effort to find out what the Patriots have in much-ballyhooed No. 2 quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, Mike Giardi of spoke with three scouts (two AFC, one NFC), an ex-Pats player and an NFC front office executive. The former Patriot offered effusive praise of the 25-year-old Garoppolo, saying of Tom Brady‘s backup: “I played against him every day in practice. He’s all that. He can make all the throws. He can process all the information. He is a gamer. He can slow it down. He can spin it. I’m going tell you this, if he had gotten traded to Cleveland, they’re a borderline playoff team. I really believe that.”

One of the AFC scouts was similarly kind to Garoppolo in his assessment, noting: “I absolutely loved the kid coming out of college. When we interviewed him, [it was obvious] he’s got those qualities you want in a QB, as a leader. I begged our guys to take him at the end of the first round. That’s how good I thought he was then. He’s a hell of a lot better now.” Garoppolo ended up going in the second round of the 2014 draft, and though he hasn’t played much since, the scout believes he’s a franchise QB in waiting and contends that it’s “genius” that the Patriots have refused to trade him.

With Brady showing no signs of slowing down even as he enters his age-40 campaign, Garoppolo probably won’t see the much field this year. Garoppolo’s contract will expire thereafter, which will make his situation an extremely compelling one to watch when the Patriots’ season concludes in either January or February. The Pats probably aren’t going to let the impending free agent leave, as head coach Bill Belichick “thinks he’s got the next great one,” according to the other AFC scout.

More from around the NFL:

  • In addition to detailing Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell‘s long-term asking price Wednesday on NFL Network, former teammate Ike Taylor said there’s a “strong possibility” Bell will hold out of training camp, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Given that Bell hasn’t signed his $12.1MM tender as the Steelers’ franchise player, he’s under no obligation to report and wouldn’t face any punishment by staying away. Bell could therefore take a cue from Chiefs safety Eric Berry, who was unhappy with his franchise designation last year and didn’t show up until the end of August.
  • Taylor noted Wednesday that Bell wants money that reflects his production as both a superstar runner and a No. 2 receiver. Bell confirmed as much Thursday, telling Jeremy Fowler of that he’s seeking a contract well in excess of Bills RB LeSean McCoy‘s league-high amount. “I make plays in the passing game, blocking, doing everything,” said Bell. “I’m arguably the top running back in the NFL and the No. 2 receiver on the Steelers, even though I play running back. Their career receiving total vs. mine, they don’t have more yards than me.” Prior to this past Monday’s deadline to sign franchise players to long-term deals, the Steelers did attempt to ink Bell to a deal worth more than McCoy’s five-year, $40MM-plus pact. Their five-year, $60MM proposal didn’t get it done, though.
  • Cowboys third-round pick Jourdan Lewis career is off to an inauspicious start. Lewis, the 92nd overall selection, will go to trial in Michigan next week for a misdemeanor domestic violence charge, reports Lindsay H. Jones of USA Today. That will keep Lewis out for the early portion of training camp, for which Cowboys rookies reported on Wednesday. Lewis’ charge stems from a March altercation with his live-in girlfriend, who told police that he put his “his hands around her neck.” The player pleaded not guilty, but he was unable to reach a settlement with prosecutors at a pre-trial hearing on Thursday, according to Jones.
  • Tony Romo continues to vacillate between “done” and “very likely done.” The retired quarterback and current CBS analyst declared last week that he’s through playing football, but now he seems to be leaving the door open ever so slightly for a return. As a guest Thursday on the Ben & Skin show on 105.3 The Fan, Romo said he’s “99.9 percent done” (Twitter link via Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News). The 37-year-old made a similar remark in April, after which a report surfaced stating that teams expect him to make a comeback. While Romo’s career probably is over, a significant preseason injury to a team’s starting QB could change the calculus. It did last summer for Romo, then with the Cowboys, as he broke a bone in his back in August and was unable to reclaim his starting job from super rookie Dak Prescott when he returned midway through the season.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Tony Romo “Done” Playing Football

As of late May, most NFL teams believed that retired quarterback Tony Romo would return to the gridiron “sooner” rather “than later.” However, Romo indicated Wednesday that his career is indeed over (via Marc Sessler of

Tony Romo

“Like I said before, I’m done,” Romo declared in an interview with NFL Network.

That’s a far cry from Romo’s mindset in April, when he refused to completely rule out a comeback immediately after announcing his retirement and signing with CBS to become its lead color announcer.

“I’m pretty happy and excited about the opportunity that was presented to me,” Romo said Wednesday in regards to joining CBS.

Even though the 37-year-old Romo says he’s content in his new role, speculation about a return to the field could rear its head again if a team loses its starting quarterback to injury in the preseason. That’s what happened to the Cowboys last summer, who saw Romo go down in August with a broken bone in his back. The Cowboys replaced Romo from within, going with backup Dak Prescott – who had a shockingly brilliant rookie season – but only after first kicking the tires on potential starters from outside the organization.

While injuries limited Romo to just four games in 2015 and four passing attempts last year, he drew interest in the offseason from a few teams – including the Texans and Broncos – and said in April he could “play tomorrow” if he wanted to. Now, Houston, Denver and the league’s 30 other teams seem content to go forward with what they have under center, while Romo appears satisfied with his decision to walk away from football.

NFL Clubs Think Tony Romo Will Play Again?

Most NFL teams are under the impression retired quarterback Tony Romo will play again, according to Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report, who indicates clubs think Romo’s return to the league could happen “sooner” rather “than later.”Tony Romo

Romo, of course, announced his retirement last month and subsequently signed on to become CBS’ lead football commentator, replacing Phil Simms alongside Jim Nantz. Any comeback attempt, then, would likely be precipitated by a club — probably a contender — suffering an injury at the quarterback position. Indeed, several decision-makers tell Freeman that if their signal-caller goes down in the near future, Romo will be “will be one their first phone calls.”

Although he did retire, the 37-year-old Romo didn’t officially rule out an eventual return to the NFL, instead opting to say he was “99%” retired and cautioning observers to “never say never” to the possibility of a comeback. More importantly, the Cowboys chose to release Romo following his retirement announcement, meaning Dallas no longer holds Romo’s rights. If he does decide to re-enter the league, Romo will be free to choose his next team unfettered.

It’s not difficult to see why NFL teams will try to lure Romo out of retirement if the need for a quarterback strikes, as the only free agent passers with any sort of starting experience are Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III. Romo, clearly, boasts a more successful track record than either of those options or the rest of the available quarterback class, which includes the likes of Shaun Hill, Zach Mettenberger, and Dan Orlovsky.

Extra Points: Romo, Lynch, Raiders, Mixon

As an undrafted free agent, Tony Romo almost wound up with the Broncos or the Cardinals over the Cowboys.

I actually wanted to go to Denver a little bit more, I felt like I had a better chance of making the roster,” Romo told Peter King of The MMQB this week. “The money … Arizona, I believe, offered the most, probably around $20,000 or $25,000, which was like being rich at that time. Denver came in and they were like 15 to 20, but they also had Mike Shanahan who I had strong respect for, and obviously the Cowboys came in. It was Mike Shanahan on one side and then Bill Parcells on the other. Sean would call in and then eventually he passed the phone to Jerry [Jones], so you went through the whole gamut.”

While you ponder that, here’s more news from around the NFL:

  • The Raiders are working on short-term deal with heavy incentives for Marshawn Lynch in advance of his reinstatement, Ed Werder of tweets. After that, the Seahawks will either trade him to Oakland or release him to facilitate a deal.
  • 49ers GM John Lynch won’t rule out the possibility of drafting controversial Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon. “I think in terms of our board, we’ve made an effort to be as transparent as possible, but just one thing that I believe is that we’re not going to share some specifics of our board, who’s on it, who’s off it,” Lynch said (via “So I think that applies to that young man, as well.” The 49ers released cornerback Tramaine Brock after his domestic violence arrest, but that apparently doesn’t equal a complete zero tolerance policy.
  • The Rams extension timing with first-round picks Robert Quinn, Tavon Austin, and Michael Brockers suggests that Aaron Donald will have a new deal by October, Joel Corry of opines (Twitter link). This week, the Rams exercised Donald’s fifth-year option, but many expect the two sides to hammer out a long-term extension before that kicks in.

Tony Romo Hasn’t Filed Retirement Papers

Tony Romo has yet to officially file retirement paperwork with the NFL,’s Todd Archer writes. As Archer notes, the paperwork would be filed to the league and not the Cowboys since the team released him earlier this month. Regardless, whether or not Romo fills out those forms doesn’t mean a whole lot. Tony Romo

[RELATED: NBA Stops Mavs From Formally Signing Romo]

Even if Romo were to officially file for retirement tomorrow, it’s a quick and easy process to come out of retirement. If the quarterback filed his paperwork and changed his mind, all he would have to do is send a letter to Roger Goodell informing him of his decision. And, as a free agent, Romo is contractually unencumbered and could sign with any NFL team.

Romo, of course, is taking over for Phil Simms as CBS’ lead color analyst. That won’t do much to silence speculation about a potential return and the belief is that he has an easy out in his network contract if he chooses to return to football. He also didn’t do much to stop the chatter when he indicated that he isn’t 100% retired.

Romo admits that the decision to walk away from the game was one of the toughest calls he ever had to make.

“Yeah, it was tough,” Romo said last week. “I think one of the hardest things was just not really knowing what direction — I mean right after the season I was playing football. That was a no-brainer for me at the time. And then I just, I feel like I do with all big decisions I’ve made in my life, you don’t want to make them emotional or quick, you want to kind of just soak in it, think about it and take your time and things start to reveal themselves I feel like. And you pray about it, go talk to your close family and people you trust, then you make the call and it feels right. It really does.”

Tony Romo Discusses Retirement, Dak, Cowboys

It’s been a busy couple of days for former quarterback Tony Romo. The veteran announced his retirement earlier week, although he was subsequently released by the Cowboys. We later learned that Romo would be joining CBS to be one of the network’s lead commentators.

While we’ve seen plenty of reactions to these unexpected moves, but we haven’t heard a whole lot from Romo himself (except one quote that had him hinting that a future return to the NFL could be possible).

Romo appeared on several radio programs this week, including Mike Krzyzewski’s SiriusXM show, Basketball and Beyond, and the Ben and Skin show on KRLD-FM 105.3 The Fan. Thanks to Jon Machota of the Dallas News, we’ve been able to collect several of those soundbites below…

Tony Romo (vertical)On his decision to retire:

“Yeah, it was tough. I think one of the hardest things was just not really knowing what direction — I mean right after the season I was playing football. That was a no-brainer for me at the time. And then I just, I feel like I do with all big decisions I’ve made in my life, you don’t want to make them emotional or quick, you want to kind of just soak in it, think about it and take your time and things start to reveal themselves I feel like. And you pray about it, go talk to your close family and people you trust, then you make the call and it feels right. It really does.”

On his relationship with quarterback Dak Prescott:

“It probably wouldn’t have went the same way if Dak wasn’t, you know, a good kid. He’s very respectful. He’s someone that wants to learn.”

If you really just care about football. At the core, if you just love the game, I’m going to like you as a teammate. I’m going to root for you, I’m going to want to see you succeed and I’m gonna want to go out of my way to help you.

“He has the appetite to want to be great and he’s got a skillset that’s good. I think he’s just going to continue to develop it.”

On his relationship with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones:

“Jerry is just very unique in that he’s probably the most loyal person I’ve ever been around. Every once in a blue moon you can get in trouble with that. When you run an organization, you know, it’s like, you almost want to keep it a business sometimes because if you make it about the people you can make poor business decisions. And he really runs that fine line.

“I don’t know that he’s as close to all the players as people think, but he loves his players. He knows that they go lay it on the line. Our sport is a very physical, physical sport where people’s bodies are laid out there each week. Well Jerry, he knows that, he played the game. And so he knows enough to know when these guys go out there it’s really important on how they mentally go into it, physically they’re giving everything they’ve got.”

On his relationship with former coach Jason Garrett:

“I mean, Jason played quarterback in the NFL. He’s a very intelligent guy. Some of his wisdom, which is different than Coach Parcells, could come in with, a little bit was the mental aspect of it. Jason’s approach is a little bit probably what I really needed at the time [in 2007]. It was mostly about just trying not to do too much. It was just execute the play and we’ll see what happens. As the years developed you started to get a sense that if you have a really good team and you just go execute, you’re going to be very successful at the quarterback position.”