Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has taken his share of beatings over the years. Some whippings came from opponents but many of them were at the hands of Dallas diehards demanding that the signal caller steer the Cowboys to more promising postseason appearances rather than disappointments. With a year left on his current deal, Romo was rewarded with a six-year, $108 million dollar extension this past week, paying him more guaranteed money ($55 million) than recent Super Bowl winning quarterback Joe Flacco received a few weeks ago. Despite his impressive statistics, Romo hasn't impressed in the playoffs. A National Football League (NFL) team is defined by the quarterback and quarterbacks are defined by postseason success, a formula under which Romo has produced just one playoff victory in seven seasons. So, does Romo deserve $108 million? Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley of the AFRO Sports Desk debate the question.
Riley: The price tag might be a bit lofty but for all that Romo means to the Cowboys, he's worth every bit of that extension. It's not Romo's fault his contract negotiations came up in a prime window when Flacco and Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers were getting $100 million deals. He got lucky with the timing and had the stats to match Rodgers and Flacco. Obviously he lacks a Super Bowl ring but his numbers aren't too far away from his top level counterparts’. Criticism aside, Romo is one of the better NFL quarterbacks and most popular faces so Dallas couldn't afford to lowball him on an offer.
Green: You're kidding, right? You can't seriously believe that Romo deserves this type of contract, not after the stinkers he's put up in big time games. The one playoff win in seven years is a jab but the 1-6 record in do-or-die games is just a knockout punch. Dallas had a win-or-go-home game against Washington in the season finale and Romo threw three interceptions. The Cowboys could've made the playoffs with a win in 2011 but they lost the last two games behind Romo's leadership. I just can't see how this extension makes sense.
Riley: There isn't some huge surplus of talented quarterbacks hovering around the free agent wire. Good signal callers are hard to find so when you do find them you need to hold on to them. Is Romo really the main flaw with the Cowboys? Or are there other factors in place? No one ever talks about what's one of the worst pass-blocking offensive lines in the league. You never hear about the defense that's been consistently carved up over the last few seasons. But it's so easy to blame the quarterback and Romo is easy pickings. I understand the mistakes he's made and the blunders he's committed but he's not entirely to blame for Dallas' failings over the years and he's certainly deserving of an extension if you compare his numbers to some of the other top producing passers.
Green: You know Romo's extension was a bad move when even Dallas fans are questioning the deal. When you count and add up all the mistakes and distractions such as the Jessica Simpson media frenzy and the obsession with summer golf, it just adds up to a head scratcher for me. I mean why would Jerry Jones be so giving to deal out $108 million for a QB who struggles to win playoff games and sets himself up for criticism because he's playing golf in the summertime instead of studying game film? You're right Riley, good quarterbacks don't come along often. So Dallas should've waited until they got one before making this type of deal.
Riley: The funny thing about this deal is that all of its criticism will change if Romo wins the Super Bowl. That's the only thing that separates his extension from a wise one to a despised one. I think Romo has the makeup to keep Dallas in contention for years. I'm not saying he'll be the next Super Bowl MVP but all it takes is one hot playoff run to get a team to the promise land. Flacco had that type of streak two months ago and Rodgers had it in 2010. Dallas had to keep Romo and they paid accordingly.
Green: They didn't have to pay Romo this much. They could've brought anybody in to guide them to an 8-8 record, the same thing Romo's been doing for years. Romo can win a fantasy league but can't win a season finale when it's do or die. The great thing about the NFL is that contracts aren't guaranteed. But what I can guarantee is that Dallas will be looking for a new QB once Romo blunders again.
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