Deep in his lair, past the marble floors and the Scrooge McDuck vault of gold coins, Joe Flacco pins another headline to the wall.
Tony Romo just got $108 million. Tony Romo got $108 million? Yeah, Tony Romo got $108 million. And you know the worst part, the part that stings the most? It includes $55 million in guaranteed money, $3 million more than Flacco got.
We don’t know what Flacco thinks, of course. but it didn’t take long for the boring 6-foot-5 Super Bowl winner to be upstaged by a man whose most memorable postseason play was a fumbled snap. A man whose postseason resume is littered with exactly one win, a single shiny object floating in a brown swamp, too far away to retrieve.
This contract, six years, $108 million with a $25 million signing bonus — makes Romo the highest-paid player in Cowboys history, but that designation is only temporary. A few years will go by and this deal will be surpassed by the next Cowboys quarterback, or some defensive end or offensive tackle. But it is worth mentioning that, even adjusted for inflation, it is significantly more than the seven-year, $70 million extension Troy Aikman was due in 2001 … right until the Cowboys cut him. That deal would have been worth a little less than $91 million in today’s dollars had it ever been a reality.
So however you look at it, it qualifies as a put-it-on-the-marquee vote of confidence for Romo at the most. At the least, it establishes the going rate for a statistically prolific quarterback who for whatever reason has won a disappointing number of games.
Argue all you want about who is at fault for the Cowboys’ disappointments in the Romo era, but don’t act like the Cowboys are being frivolous because of this contract. Quarterbacks are expensive. Even bad ones. Matt Cassel got $28 million guaranteed from the Chiefs in 2009. Ryan Fitzpatrick got $24 million guaranteed from the Bills in 2011. Want to look at somebody closer to Romo’s level? According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract, is expected to draw more than $60 million in guaranteed money on his next contract. Know how many playoff wins Ryan has? Yeah, it’s one.
If you want to win the big money in Vegas, you don’t sit down at the $3 blackjack table.
That all said, I bet Flacco wishes he would have waited until after Romo to negotiate his contract.