Eatman: Contracts Should Always Be About Future Not Past

TonyRomo_032913_650.jpg


There's always two ways to look at things. When it comes to contracts for professional athletes, there is usually a healthy debate over whether to pay a player for what he's done or what he will do in the future. 

The goal should be to find a happy medium somewhere in between. 

In the case of Tony Romo, who signed a six-year contract extension over the weekend worth $108 million, it's clear the Cowboys found that balance, whether public perception agrees with it or not. 

My take is simple – Romo got paid like a Top 8 quarterback. And once some of these other contracts come in for Aaron Rodgers and probably Matt Ryan and maybe a restructure from Eli Manning, Romo will be in that range. And that's fine for him. In my opinion, he is a Top 8 quarterback. Not in the top tier, but on the outside of that, and that's pretty much how he was compensated. 

It's funny how his playoff wins have suddenly become the biggest topic once again. Sure, you'd like for him and this team to be more accomplished. 

But what if he had 8 playoff wins? What if he'd been to the Super Bowl twice and has won them both. What if he's a two-time MVP of the league? 

You're still going to pay him what you think he's about to do here in the next few years. 

So playoff wins are irrelevant at this point in the game. He's got one. We got it. Thanks Donovan, for pointing that out. Maybe if he'd played against McNabb head-to-head in the playoffs, he'd have a lot more. 

But that's beside the point at this juncture. For Romo, that's always the easiest argument against him. His playoff wins, or lack of success in elimination games. And there's no denying it. In those games, the Cowboys have struggled mightily and he's played a big hand in some of those failures. 

Romo has one playoff win. Jason Witten has just one. DeMarcus Ware also with just one.

Hey, I get the quarterback is the guy with the record. He's the one getting most of the blame and credit. But this team needs to step up, too. As a team, they need to learn how to win games when it matters. The coaching staff needs to learn how to get the players prepared enough to win when it counts the most.  [embedded_ad]

Romo needs to do a better job of stepping up in those clutch moments. His teammates need to do a better job of following. 

But this contract isn't really about what has happened. Romo turns 33 later this month, but of course you'll hear the Cowboys say he's a "young 33" because he spent the first three years on the bench. Personally, if he has to run for his life and take shots like he did last year, he'll be an old 34 before you know it. 

As I've always said – quarterbacks are like a new house. Once you build it, you better get a sturdy fence to support it. And that's where the Cowboys need to focus – getting an offensive line that can protect this investment. 

But that's exactly what this contract is. Despite his age, and despite his lack of postseason success, the premise of this contract is about the expectations the Cowboys still have for Romo.

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TonyRomo_032913_650.jpg


There's always two ways to look at things. When it comes to contracts for professional athletes, there is usually a healthy debate over whether to pay a player for what he's done or what he will do in the future. 

The goal should be to find a happy medium somewhere in between. 

In the case of Tony Romo, who signed a six-year contract extension over the weekend worth $108 million, it's clear the Cowboys found that balance, whether public perception agrees with it or not. 

My take is simple – Romo got paid like a Top 8 quarterback. And once some of these other contracts come in for Aaron Rodgers and probably Matt Ryan and maybe a restructure from Eli Manning, Romo will be in that range. And that's fine for him. In my opinion, he is a Top 8 quarterback. Not in the top tier, but on the outside of that, and that's pretty much how he was compensated. 

It's funny how his playoff wins have suddenly become the biggest topic once again. Sure, you'd like for him and this team to be more accomplished. 

But what if he had 8 playoff wins? What if he'd been to the Super Bowl twice and has won them both. What if he's a two-time MVP of the league? 

You're still going to pay him what you think he's about to do here in the next few years. 

So playoff wins are irrelevant at this point in the game. He's got one. We got it. Thanks Donovan, for pointing that out. Maybe if he'd played against McNabb head-to-head in the playoffs, he'd have a lot more. 

But that's beside the point at this juncture. For Romo, that's always the easiest argument against him. His playoff wins, or lack of success in elimination games. And there's no denying it. In those games, the Cowboys have struggled mightily and he's played a big hand in some of those failures. 

Romo has one playoff win. Jason Witten has just one. DeMarcus Ware also with just one.

Hey, I get the quarterback is the guy with the record. He's the one getting most of the blame and credit. But this team needs to step up, too. As a team, they need to learn how to win games when it matters. The coaching staff needs to learn how to get the players prepared enough to win when it counts the most.  [embedded_ad]

Romo needs to do a better job of stepping up in those clutch moments. His teammates need to do a better job of following. 

But this contract isn't really about what has happened. Romo turns 33 later this month, but of course you'll hear the Cowboys say he's a "young 33" because he spent the first three years on the bench. Personally, if he has to run for his life and take shots like he did last year, he'll be an old 34 before you know it. 

As I've always said – quarterbacks are like a new house. Once you build it, you better get a sturdy fence to support it. And that's where the Cowboys need to focus – getting an offensive line that can protect this investment. 

But that's exactly what this contract is. Despite his age, and despite his lack of postseason success, the premise of this contract is about the expectations the Cowboys still have for Romo.

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