AP: Dallas’ Romo will be a free agent

The Associated Press

DALLAS — Tony Romo’s star-crossed career as the starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys will soon be over.

A person with knowledge of the decision tells The Associated Press that the Cowboys will release Romo when the NFL year opens today. The person spoke to the AP on Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the team hasn’t announced a decision on Romo, who will get a chance to pursue a starting job elsewhere.

Romo will leave the Cowboys as the franchise leader in yards passing (34,183) and touchdowns (248). But he could never match the postseason success of Hall of Famers and multiple Super Bowl winners Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman.

A 10-year starter who joined the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2003, Romo lost the job last season to rookie Dak Prescott after breaking a bone in his back in a preseason game.

When he was healthy again, Romo conceded the job to Prescott during a franchise-record 11-game winning streak. His departure has been expected ever since.

A trade was unlikely because Romo turns 37 next month, carries a $24 million salary cap hit and has missed most of the past two seasons with injuries. But he should be attractive as a free agent to contenders wanting a quarterback, a list that could include Denver and Houston.

A release will free about $5 million in cap space for the Cowboys, who can split the dead money from a $19 million hit over two seasons.

Romo was 78-49 as the starter, but his playoff debut 10 years ago illustrated the postseason struggles ahead when he infamously flubbed the snap on what could have been a winning field goal in Seattle.

The four-time Pro Bowler went 2-4 in the playoffs, never winning on the road or reaching the NFC championship game.

Owner Jerry Jones and Romo talked “Cowboy for life” when Romo signed the franchise’s first $100 million contract in 2013 — a $108 million, six-year extension through 2019.

And there wasn’t any reason to think it wouldn’t happen as recently as two years ago after Dallas won the NFC East at 12-4 in Romo’s last full season as the starter. The Cowboys beat Detroit in the wild-card round before losing to Green Bay in the divisional round after the famous catch that wasn’t by receiver Dez Bryant.

In the second game of 2015, though, Romo broke his left collarbone when he was sacked, and the Cowboys went 0-7 without him. He returned for two games and broke the collarbone again as Dallas sunk to last in the division at 4-12.

When Romo injured his back in the preseason against the Seahawks, Prescott had already shown promise in two preseason games. It carried over to the regular season with 11 straight wins after Dallas lost the opener. The Cowboys were the top seed in the NFC at 13-3 but lost their first playoff game to the Packers.

Romo played just one series in his final season with Dallas, throwing a 3-yard touchdown to Terrance Williams in a meaningless regular-season finale at Philadelphia. His last snap in a home regular-season game was the last of three broken collarbones sustained in his career.

Elsewhere:

n The New York Giants signed free agent receiver Brandon Marshall to a two-year contact. The former Jets receiver tweeted a picture of the signed contact on Wednesday with the headline: “Done Deal!!!! #GMEN.” The signing gives the Giants a talented outside receiver to play opposite Odell Beckham Jr. The Jets released Marshall less than a week ago, making him eligible to sign with any team.

n Tyrod Taylor will remain the Buffalo Bills starter after the team announced it has restructured the player’s five-year contract extension.

The team revealed the news in a press release issued Wednesday, a day before the NFL’s free-agency period began. The Bills had until Saturday to determine whether to pick up the extension Taylor signed in August or part ways with the two-year starter. Taylor has a 15-14 record in two seasons with Buffalo.

n Elvis Dumervil was cut by the Baltimore Ravens, who were looking to free up salary cap room before the start of free agency. Dumervil missed eight games last season because of injuries and finished with only three sacks. Two years earlier, he set the team single-season record with 17 sacks. The 33-year-old Dumervil is a five-time Pro Bowler. He played four seasons in Baltimore after a successful run with the Denver Broncos.

n Tight end Dwayne Allen is eager to get started with the New England Patriots after the Indianapolis Colts traded him on the eve of free agency. Allen acknowledged the trade on Twitter, where he thanked Colts fans for their support and wrote he was “humbled and eager to earn the right to be called a New England Patriot” on Twitter. NFL.com reported the Colts will send Allen and a sixth-round draft choice in exchange for the Patriots’ fourth-round pick. The move comes one day after Indy kept backup tight end Jack Doyle off the free-agent market with a three-year deal worth about $6.3 million per year.

n The San Francisco 49ers are making moves to upgrade their struggling offense, agreeing to a two-year deal with free-agent quarterback Brian Hoyer and a four-year contract with Pro Bowl fullback Kyle Juszczyk. San Francisco entered its first free-agency period under new coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch with no quarterbacks on the roster after last year’s starter Colin Kaepernick opted out of his deal last week. Backups Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder and Thad Lewis are also free agents.

n The Washington Redskins have re-signed tight end Vernon Davis. According to Davis’ Snapchat, it’s a three-year deal. The team announced the contract early Wednesday morning. The 33-year-old Davis revitalized his career last season with Washington, starting 14 games and catching 44 passes for 583 yards and two touchdowns. In 11 NFL seasons the Maryland product has 505 receptions for 6,424 yards and 57 touchdowns.

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