Tony Romo doesn't owe discount

New England quarterback Tom Brady signed a team-friendly contract extension this week that helps the Patriots create room under their salary cap.

As soon as the story hit the Internet, Dallas Cowboys fans flooded all forms of social media with demands that Tony Romo sign a similar team-friendly deal with the Cowboys whenever his contract gets restructured.


If Romo chooses to take less money from the Cowboys, fine. But he doesn't owe it to the Cowboys to do so. And if he wants every cent his agent can wrangle from the Cowboys, good for him.

And if Romo takes that route, he shouldn't receive any flak from his adoring public.

How many of y'all would take less money so your company could hire another quality employee? I ran it past my boss Tuesday afternoon, and he couldn't stop laughing. Frankly, he's probably still chuckling.

Some people suggested Romo has already made enough money because he signed a six-year, $65 million deal in 2007.


How much money is enough money is always relative. Folks who make $25,000 a year probably think $50,000 is enough. Folks who earn $100,000 probably think $250,000 is enough. Folks who make $500,000 probably think $1 million is enough. And those who earn $1 million probably think $10 million is enough.

Get the point?

More important, each person must make that decision for himself. It's not up to me or anyone else to tell someone how much money is enough. After all, Jerry Jones ain't offering hometown discount tickets for fans even after his team has gone 128-128 since 1997 with one playoff win. Nor is Jerry taking a pay cut.

A recent Forbes Magazine article said the Cowboys were the world's second-most valuable franchise, worth more than $1 billion. Only Manchester United, the famed soccer club, is worth more.

I've yet to meet the athlete who said he had enough money, especially since they have a finite time to earn the bulk of the money they'll need for a lifetime. Besides, we've all heard stories of athletes going broke. Not all of them had five houses and 10 cars.

Sometimes real estate ventures fail. Or businesses ventures go under. Or financial advisers steal their clients' money.

Do you think former NFL quarterback Mark Brunell expected to file for bankruptcy? What about former pitcher Curt Schilling? Former tennis star Arantxa Sanchez Vicario has virtually none of the $60 million she made during her career.

See, it happens all the time. In the midst of their careers, each probably thought he or she had more than enough money to last a lifetime.

It's laughable for Jerry to ask any player to take less money than the market demands because of the team's mismanagement, which is different than asking a guy such as Miles Austin or Doug Free to take a contract reduction. Neither has played to his contract the past two years. Austin is paid like an elite receiver, but injuries have limited his effectiveness the past two seasons, and Free was among the league's worst starting tackles last season.

That's life in the NFL. Play well, and players want their contracts restructured. Play poorly, and the club wants the athlete to take a pay cut.

Should Romo really take less money because Jerry signed players such as Austin, Free, defensive tackle Jay Ratliff, cornerback Orlando Scandrick and Gerald Sensabaugh to bad deals? The reality is a series of poor contracts is why the Cowboys are so cap-strapped that they can't afford to re-sign Anthony Spencer, their best defensive player last season.

Romo didn't play well much of last season -- he tied for the league lead with 19 interceptions -- for whatever reason you choose to provide. And he stunk in the season's most important game, throwing three interceptions against Washington in the regular-season finale.

Still, he remains a talented player, and the Cowboys hope his decision-making will ultimately match his talent and lead them to a championship.

We'll see.

Make no mistake, Romo hasn't earned a new deal based on his performance last season. But the Cowboys have no choice. Romo is going to count nearly $17 million against the salary cap in 2013, and if he doesn't get a new contract, the Cowboys won't have enough salary-cap room to improve the team during the offseason.

Romo has all the leverage, and he should be paid about $14 million per season.

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning earns an average of $15.2 million per season, while Houston's Matt Schaub averages about $13 million. San Diego's Philip Rivers averages about $14 million.

If Romo chooses to take less, it must be his decision entirely -- not the result of pressure from the self-righteous public.