FRISCO (105.3 THE FAN) - Tony Romo Knows Drama. Tony Romo Knows Timing. So it should surprise no one that word has leaked that Tony Romo would like a raise to $10 million a year to continue working as a TV analyst for CBS Sports.
“I feel this (in the booth for CBS) is exactly where I should be,” Romo told the media during a pre-Super Bowl preview in January.
But now, according to Sporting News, Romo’s representatives are looking for a contract extension paying him “eight figures” annually to remain "where he should be'' -- a substantial raise from his present salary of $4 million.
There is no salary cap at CBS, so there is nothing, really, that precludes Romo vaulting over the likes of fellow ex Dallas Cowboys QB Troy Aikman, who reportedly makes about $7.5 million annually, sources said, or over the likes of Jon Gruden, who was making $6.5 million a year from ESPN to call “Monday Night Football'' before his recent return to coaching with the Raiders.
Romo presently has a contract that pays him $4 million annually and it expires after the 2019 season. All the stories that have been written about this situation are careful to mention that he not only could play out his rookie TV contract and become a free agent, moving to another network, but also that he could simply walk away from the broadcast booth altogether to 1) focus on family, 2) take a job with an NFL team or 3) -- and my personal prediction -- golf, golf, golf.
Romo is a superstar in the booth, exceeding even what he was as a player. He is near that Charles Barkley range, maybe even near that John Madden, in terms of combining likability with credibility on the air. His pairing with pal and play-by-play partner Jim Nantz is magical. There is little logic in leaving that behind to become an NFL coach. Maybe Romo could work in a front office, but he himself has suggested that jobs that bring him back into football on a daily basis (rather than on the much less demanding schedule of a TV analyst) might suit him best after his three young sons have grown up a bit.
"I'm sure one day I'll coach,'' he has said.
But Romo's star quality -- now -- is undeniable. During Super Bowl Week, "No. 9'' was the top personality in play -- bigger than even Patriots coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady, who were actually participating in the game.. (My VIP column here details Tony's manipulative mastery of making sure he remains in the headlines -- and in control of the headlines.) More though, his timing is impeccable. A $10 million salary should be a headline-grabber, and I guess it is. But this "leak'' comes at a time when CBS is selling its NFL broadcast schedule; the money is rolling in, in part due to Romo's participation. That's timing.
And then there is this: Romo's leak also comes at a time when his former contemporaries, NFL players, are making not $10 mil a year, but two and three times that. Baseball players in recent days have signed deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Put it all together and the public isn't even blinking at the idea of Tony Romo getting paid in that manner.
Romo has a broadcasting knack for predicting plays on the field before they happen. That's about drama and timing. He's now showing a knack for knowing when to cash in, too ... also, all about drama and timing.