As La Canfora points out, this actually means Romo will be in Dallas for the next seven years because he had one more season worth $11.5 million remaining on his current contract.
ESPN was the first to report that the extension was imminent.
"Tony has a special relationship with Jerry Jones and Stephen Jones, and this allows him to be a Cowboy for life," Romo's agent, R.J. Gonser, told La Canfora. "It's a very special place for him, and Tony was focused on remaining a Cowboy and helping the Cowboys win games."
The Cowboys, as of Thursday, were only $51,000 under the salary cap. With the team wanting to get a long-term deal done with the franchise-tagged linebacker Anthony Spencer (which also would probably free up cap space for 2013), the team needed the cash.
Romo's cap number drops to $11.82 million for 2013. That number had been $16,818,833, meaning the Cowboys have $5 million more in cap money than they had before Friday.
La Canfora retrieved the breakdown of Romo's guaranteed money, which differs slightly from the orginal $55 million: The extension could be reported as worth a maximum of $108 million, with $55 million guaranteed. But according to a source with knowledge of the deal, the full guarantee -- for injury, skill and cap -- is actually $40 million, which would put him well lower than the record deals recently signed by Drew Brees and Joe Flacco.
Romo's true, 100-percent guarantee is $40 million. His "virtual" guarantee is $47.5 million, and he is very likely to get $57 million, which is his three-year cash payout. So the reality is, at this stage of his career and given the language of his deal, he will pocket $57 million in the next three years, barring a serious injury.
He makes $26.5 million in the first year of the deal and $40 million over the first two years. However, if he were to be cut following the 2014 season for any reason, he would pocket $47.5 million after the first two years, given his guaranteed money language.
Predictably, Twitter exploded (gleefully, I might add) at the news. Much of the derision was pointed toward Romo and Jerry Jones in that the Cowboys just gave more than $100 million to a quarterback who has won a single playoff game and handcuffed themselves for another seven years. And probably because it's a potentially higher guarantee than what Super Bowl MVP Flacco just received ($52 million).
My personal favorite tweet:
Tony Romo 6 yr 55 million dollar extension. Wow really, with one playoff win. You got to be kidding me— Donovan McNabb (@donovanjmcnabb) March 29, 2013
The best part of McNabb's tweet is that, in Romo's one postseason victory after the 2009 season, he knocked off the Eagles. The quarterback for Philadelphia? Some dude named Donovan McNabb.
In reality, though, Romo is still probably a top-10 quarterback in this league. Thing is, his failures have happened with plenty of attention on his team, late in games and late in seasons. To point all of the blame at Romo is blatantly unfair.
Of course, if you're making more than $100 million over the course of your contract, anything less than a Super Bowl will be ruled a failiure. And, at this point, it doesn't seem as if Dallas is particularly close to one of those.