Tony Romo has not officially filled out his papers to retire from the NFL, which raises some interesting questions. The Dallas Cowboys were planning to release Romo when NFL free agency started so he could quickly sign with a new team and prepare for the season. However, they held on to him for long enough for Romo to decide to retire rather than play for another NFL team. The problem is, if Romo has not filled out his retirement papers, it means he can return now if he wants and the Cowboys can’t do anything about it.

Tony Romo and his retirement options

The Dallas Cowboys had offensive tackle Doug Free announce that he is retiring from the NFL early in free agency. Free wrote his letter to notify the Cowboys that he is retiring from the NFL, which is all a player needs to do to step away and retire from the NFL. The Cowboys will still own his rights if Free choose to come out of retirement at any point, similar to what is happening right now with the Seattle Seahawks and Marshawn Lynch. However, Tony Romo has never filled out the papers to officially retire from the NFL.

Because the Cowboys released him before he announced his retirement, they no longer have any rights to Romo as a player even though both events happened on the same day.

The Cowboys releasing Tony means that he needs to write his letter to notify the NFL of his intentions instead of the Cowboys and he has not done that yet. While almost everyone expects Romo to remain retired and join CBS as their color commentator for the top games every week in 2017, he still can officially return to the NFL depending on his contract with CBS.

Tony Romo and his 2017 plans

At the moment, the plan is for Tony Romo to join CBS as their number one color commentator. CBS has already informed Phil Simms that Romo will replace him and there is little chance that they will go back on that, especially if their contract says that Romo will join them and not return to the NFL.

However, there are some who believe that the reason that Tony has not filled out his paperwork to retire is because he still isn’t sure that he wants to step away from his playing days.

One thought is that Tony Romo will sign a new contract with Dallas in a ceremonial way and then actually retire from the team by being placed on the “reserve/retired” list, which is a designation where Roger Staubach remains to this very day. ESPN analyst Max Kellerman has actually suggested that Tony Romo has not filled out his paperwork as a “fail-safe” for the Dallas Cowboys. If Dak Prescott is injured in 2017, Romo can return to the Cowboys if he has not retired, while not taking up salary cap space and creating a quarterback controversy if he remained on the roster.