If Jerry Jones gets caught looking down at his phone during thisweek's annual leaguemeeting in Phoenix, trust that it won't be because the Cowboys boss is playing Candy Crushor browsing his Instagram feed.
He'll be texting Texans owner Bob McNair from across the room, or he'll be sliding into Broncos general manager John Elway's DMs. Probablyboth.
"Bob, forget thispresentation on the value of full-time officials. It'sboring. You know what's not boring? Tony Romo in Houston."
"John, which would you rather have, five minutes less of overtimeor Tony Romo? Priorities, dude."
Yes, it's fair to call Tony Romo's situation a "hostage crisis," as Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram did. The 36-year-old quarterback remains a Cowboy despite Jones' promise to do right by him after 13 years of Pro Bowl-caliber service. The longer Romo's preferred teams in Houston and Denverwait for Romo to become availablein free agency, the more evident Jones' bluff becomes — doing right would be releasing Romoas soon as possible.
Not that anybody can blame Jones. Henaturally doesn't want to part with Romo without some sort of compensation, hence the hold-up a couple weeks into free agency. When the Texansdumped failed QB Brock Osweiler, Jones got the tango partner he needed to pair with the Broncosas competitorsfor the veteranin 2017.
If that dance is going to take place, chances are it will do soat the league meeting, which begins March 26 and runs through the 29th.
Jones, though, might not like the idea of Romo playing in Houston — a theory Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio floated last week.
"As far as the people living in Dallas and Houston are concerned, they are (rivals)," Florio wrote."And that reality could be one of the reasons for the decision of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to slam the brakes on the plan to release Romo.
"The truth could be that Jones plans in Phoenix to make a team like the Broncos a low-ball, face-saving offer that gets the Cowboys some marginal value for Romo — and that ensures he’ll never play for the Houston Texans."
Florio's theory fallsin line with the idea that the leaguemeeting could be a pivotal period for the Romo saga. Hill agrees, but he in the Star-Telegram offered a reason why Romo might not mind such a drawn out timeline.
"The time gives (Romo)a chance to weigh his own options," Hill wrote, "which include retirement and a possible lucrative network television job in addition to continuing his career with the Broncos or Texans."
And that, of course, would be the best-case scenario for Jones and the Cowboys — Romoleaves football anddoes not threaten Dallas with his serviceselsewhere. But we're not cynical enough to suggest Jones is stalling in hopes of Romo's retirement ... we don't think.
We do, however, believeactions speak louder than words, and no matter what Jones says,Dallas' reluctance to let Romo go suggests this could go on for weeks, if not months. Jones,after all, has said he could wait until June.
If nothing happens during the leaguemeeting, the next logical deadline of sorts, according to the Star-Telegram, is April 17, when offseason programs begin.
For Romo'ssake, hopefully Jones spends more of his time at the meeting talking trades than debating whether players should be able to leap over other players in order toblock kicks.