FRISCO, Texas -- So Jerry Jones has finally said that there is a timetable for a resolution to the Tony Romo saga: training camp.
Jerry Jones says deadline on Tony Romo decision is training camp. Says they've spoken in last couple days. He's doing great, has options— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 28, 2017
If you think that sounds bizarre, you're not alone. It is bizarre. Completely bizarre.
There was an expectation Romo would be released March 9, the first day of the league year. Now Jones is talking about mid-July.
When he spoke with local reporters at the owners' meetings, Jones said there is no waiting game.
"This is the offseason," Jones said. "We're not missing doing anything. From the standpoint of the franchise and the Cowboys, nothing is being held up here at all."
Here's why that "deadline" does not make much sense.
While the offseason program, which starts April 17, and organized team activities are voluntary, there is nothing stopping Romo from showing up at The Star for workouts, which would put him at risk of injury. If he were to get hurt, the Dallas Cowboys would be on the hook for his $14 million base salary. Do you think the Cowboys would like to see Romo on the squat rack ready to lift some heavy weights?
We've heard Jones tell us over and over again that a player's value is at its lowest before the draft. If you are, say, the Houston Texans, you would want to have Romo on the roster at the start of the offseason program so he can begin to learn the offense, so waiting until after the draft isn't the best of options either.
The delay of the inevitable has folks conjuring up Jones and Romo in some sort of staring contest, waiting for the other to blink. Jones has said that there is no acrimony and that he has spoken to Romo recently.
"We're on great terms," Jones said. "But I certainly don't want to represent anything as to how he feels. But I feel good about how we're doing, we being the Cowboys, me and Tony. I feel very good about it."
Romo has been mostly quiet on his future, except for a couple of forays into social media. As he thanked the Cowboys fans for their support over the years, Bob Dylan's "The Times They are a Changin'" played in the background, which was not a coincidence.
If the delay of the inevitable is an attempt to drum up trade discussions, it's not working. Reports out of Houston and Denver have said that the Texans and Broncos are not interested in trading for Romo. Likely there would be interest in Romo as a free agent. If that happens, then Jones might see his nightmare of Romo winning a Super Bowl somewhere else come true.
Romo's $14 million base salary is not so out of whack that a team would not pull off a deal. Would they like to rework the deal considering Romo's injury history? Perhaps. But the contract is not keeping a team from making a trade for Romo.
What is keeping a team from making a trade is they know the Cowboys can't have Romo as their backup. Why give up anything when you don't have to?
There is one odd way the delay in the inevitable has been a benefit to Romo. He is contemplating whether he wants to continue to play. He turns 37 next month. He has had collarbone and back injuries the last two seasons. He has a young family with a third child on the way.
The longer he remains in limbo, the more time he can take to decide on his playing career. It also gives him more time to mull the offers from FOX and CBS.
At the scouting combine in February, Jones came up with the do-right rule, in which he would do right by Romo and Romo would do right by the team. It turns out that was more of a quip than a rule. Now Jones has come up with a training camp deadline when it really isn't a deadline.
This shouldn't be this hard.