By Mike Fisher, 105.3 The Fan | CBSDFW.COM
Cowboys QB Tony Romo along with Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones sign Tony's new contract extension on Friday March 29, 2013 (Photo courtesy

Cowboys QB Tony Romo along with Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones sign Tony’s new contract extension on Friday March 29, 2013 (Photo courtesy

IRVING (105.3 THE FAN) – Tony Romo signed a contract with the Dallas Cowboys on Friday that, in terms of the total potential package, amounts to seven years and $119 million. But the final judgment on the numbers cannot happen without a deeper examination of the deal – and of course, time for Romo to prove he is the championship-level quarterback the franchise believes him to be.

“There will be no greater reward, besides winning a Super Bowl, than playing my entire career as a Dallas Cowboy,” said Romo after signing the paperwork in team owner Jerry Jones’ Valley Ranch office at 4 p.m. Friday. “Our goal is the Super Bowl, and I am determined and honored to be the guy in this position to help our team do that.’’

Team Vice President Stephen Jones (the point man for the club’s negotiations) tells 105.3 The Fan that the extension portion of the deal is six years and $108 million – that addition tacked on to an existing season. Included in the contract is $55 million guaranteed ($25 million of it as an upfront signing bonus). And in reality, the structure of the contract makes the $55 million the key number, not the $119 million or the $108 million.

On paper, the full contract makes Romo the highest-paid player in Cowboys history. But it’s that guaranteed money that is most impactful. That is the second largest guaranteed money in the NFL, behind New England quarterback Tom Brady ($57 million guaranteed) and New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees ($55 million guaranteed).

Sources said the first four years of the contract for the 32-year-old QB pay him approximately $65 million, and that nothing beyond that can truly be counted on. (Romo will be 39 by the time the final 2019 year of the deal comes into play.) In that regard this actually can end up being a $16 million-a-year commitment – fairly in line with the “sticker price’’ of someone with Romo’s talent.

Romo, Jerry Jones said, “has a proven-veteran-quarterback grasp of the intellectual side of the game. He knows how to run an offense and run a team. He knows how to win games and has done it in a lot of different settings and under a lot of difficult circumstances. We couldn’t be more excited about moving onto the next several years with Tony … We are very confident in this investment and commitment.’’

Another financial wrinkle: the contract extension reduces Romo’s 2013 salary cap hit of $16.8 million down to $11.8 million. That frees up $5 million of space for the cap-strapped Cowboys, who can now use the room to improve Romo’s supporting cast.

Romo is likely a “Cowboy for life,’’ and understands the rewards and pressures that come with that. “Super Bowl’’ is part of the vernacular in Dallas yet under Romo, the Cowboys have won just one playoff game since his 2006 ascension from undrafted free agent to high-profile starter.

“This football team that we have is a good team and with all the people we have coming back and the things we are doing behind the scenes, it will make us a very difficult ballclub to beat,’’ Romo said. “I am excited that ownership and the organization believes in me to get this job done.’’

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