Speaking about the state of Romo's expiring contract on Tuesday, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said the Cowboys would like to sign their star quarterback to a long-term extension at some point (per ESPN's Calvin Watkins):
Tony is a key piece of what we're about going forward. We're certainly going to be looking at his situation (in) time. We've historically (extended contracts) with quarterbacks for the Dallas Cowboys ahead of time. We did it with Troy (Aikman) and we certainly want to look at that with Tony so we can all move forward in terms of how we want to play around our salary cap with our team. Tony is the key piece in terms of how your cap is represented.
Though Jones is undoubtedly sincere in wanting to keep Romo in Dallas, the team has more than one motivation in mind. The overarching reason the Cowboys need to sign Romo to an extension this offseason is cap-related.
Romo's cap hit for the 2013 season is $16.82 million, per Spotrac, which is the highest on the team. With many high-profile contracts and an untenable cap situation still staring them in the face, it's in the best interest of the Cowboys to reduce that hit if they plan on keeping Romo.
A never-ending source of controversy in Dallas, Romo certainly saw his fair share in 2012. The first half of his season started miserably and included a five-interception game against the Bears and four-pick contest versus the Giants. With his contract expiring in 2014 and the Cowboys headed nowhere fast, it seemed like Romo was nearing the end of his rope in Dallas.
But the second half saw a return to superstar form from Romo. In the Cowboys' final eight games of the season, he threw for 2,509 yards and 18 touchdowns against six interceptions. Dallas won five of its first six games in that stretch and walked into a Week 17 Sunday Night Football clash against the Redskins with a chance to win the NFC East.
Unfortunately, Romo threw three critical interceptions against Washington, helping spur the Cowboys' loss and their third consecutive season watching the playoffs from home. It was a performance fully in line with the up-and-down nature of Romo's tenure in Dallas.
Based on Jones' quotes on Tuesday, it seems like the Cowboys want to keep riding that roller coaster into 2013 and well beyond.