Jones gives Tony Romo talks update

PHOENIX -- Dallas Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones made it clear that quarterback Tony Romo will soon sign a contract extension but it's up to the coaching staff to make better use of the quarterback's skill set next season.

Jones, speaking to beat writers for 30 minutes during a break in the NFL owners meetings, said talks are heating up between the two sides.

"It's not a concern of mine," Jones said. "We all have to decide what date that is. Everybody involved: His agents. Him. Me. Us. The point I do want to make [about] this kind of commitment is I feel good about making it. I feel good about where he is in his career."

As for a timetable for an extension, Jones wouldn't give an exact time period but said: "I'm not concerned that we are looking at a drawn-out thing here. I'm not concerned that is going to in any way hamper any decision we want to make personnel-wise over the next few weeks."

Romo, who is entering the final year of his contract, is scheduled to earn a base salary of $11.5 million in 2013. The Cowboys are trying to lower his cap number, which is currently a team-high $16.8 million, to give the team some salary-cap relief to sign draft picks and free agents.

Jones wants the Cowboys' offensive coaches to use Romo's skill set even more next season so that he is even more of a focal point for the offense.

"Stay tuned. He is going to have high expectations," Jones said. "I expect him to be used. We didn't extend Troy Aikman although Troy had won three Super Bowls. We didn't make the financial commitment to Troy not to have Troy be a critical, if not the critical, part of what our team was about and our ability to move the ball. That is going to be the kind of emphasis we have with Romo. He is not going to be paid to be a bus driver.

"Tony sees remarkably. He sees the cars on the highway, so to speak. He reacts well on what he sees. And he is real good at taking his eye away from it and going back to it and throwing it. Those are really unique skills. We ought to be winning with that. Have we maximized everything that he is about to get it done?"

Romo can be an unstoppable force. He had an eight-week stretch during the 2012 season where he threw 17 touchdowns and had just three interceptions. However, there are times that he stops himself. Romo tied for the league-lead with 19 interceptions, including three in the regular-season finale with a playoff berth on the line.

"This thing has got to be oriented toward his skills, and we've got to be able to take advantage of all the things he does best," Jones said. "Nobody knows better than Tony, Jason [Garrett] and Wade [Wilson] and that offensive staff. We got a great combination now of some fresh guys on the staff and some guys that know him well. But I do expect us to be creative. I do expect some new wrinkles, so to speak, relative to what Tony Romo contributes to the team."