Tony Romo remains as Dallas Cowboys property until they trade or release him to pursue his NFL career elsewhere. A release could also mean that he could pursue a television career. But for Romo, television would cost him millions in playing when one multi-year television contract could be exceeded by a one-year contract earned by a starting quarterback.
For example, Jon Gruden is reportedly ESPN's highest paid employee at $6.5 million a year when calling games for Monday Night Football. Currently, CBS and Fox are reportedly pursuing Romo, but with Phil Simms and Troy Aikman already having the lead analyst roles at CBS and Fox respectively, he can realistically be Fox's no. 2 analyst, at best.
If Gruden makes $6.5 million on a more profitable, subscriber-driven network as a lead announcer, Romo likely will not reach $4 million in total salary, even if he is asked to do events like his second passion, golf tournaments.
In 2017, Romo is expected to earn $14 million in base salary if he remains a Cowboy, but his release would create a cap hit of $24.7 million.
A minimal $10.5 million cut in pay for a quarterback that could still remotely remain a Cowboy? Spoken like a true businessman.
If Mike Glennon could get $15 million per year from the Chicago Bears, Romo is likely worth an annual salary of at least $13 million. For him to leave the NFL altogether for a career that technically could be short-lived would likely bring him closer to bankruptcy based on several past players-turned-broadcasters with high expectations and low outcomes: Tiki Barber, Ray Lewis, Jerome Bettis, Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott, Hines Ward, and Jason Taylor.
His quarterbacking attributes can make him an analyst anytime he is done with the game, and leaving the NFL on sour notes have not the TV careers of Trent Dilfer, Matt Hasselbeck, Ron Jaworski, Steve Beuerlein, Terry Bradshaw, and Mark Brunell.
It shows you what power a quarterback brings, and even bad ones can get benefits on and off the field. Weirdly enough, Romo remains as one of the possible good ones, but even if his career ends horribly, he still wins even without a Super Bowl ring at hand.