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Breaking down Tony Romo's contract

3/29/2013

IRVING, Texas -- Why would the Cowboys sign a soon-to-be 33-year-old quarterback to a seven-year deal? The salary cap.

Will Tony Romo play until he’s 39 years old? Maybe, maybe not, but the structure of the deal allows the Cowboys to move some money around in 2014 and ’15.

Here’s the breakdown of Romo’s contract, not including the $25 million signing bonus:

2013: $1.5 million base salary, $11.818 million cap figure

2014: $13.5 million base salary, $21.773 million cap figure

2015: $17 million base salary, $25.273 million cap figure

2016: $8.5 million base salary, $15.135 million cap figure

2017: $14 million base salary, $19 million cap figure

2018: $19.5 million base salary, cap figure

2019: $20.5 million base salary, cap figure

With the high cap figures in 2014-15, the Cowboys can lower Romo’s base salaries to the league minimum and turn the difference into signing bonus. Such a move in 2014 could save the Cowboys $10 million in cap space but add $2.5 million to the cap figures in each of the remaining years.

In the first three years of the deal, Romo will make $57 million for a $19 million average. In the first four years of the deal, he will make $65.5 for a $16.38 average.

Without seeing the specific language, Romo was able to do well in the first three years and the team was able to do well over the first four years. Both sides would call that a win-win deal.