The Cowboys are looking to sign Tony Romo to a long-term deal. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
The Dallas Cowboys still believe that quarterback Tony Romo is a vital piece to the team winning a championship and are making plans to try to sign him to a long-term deal.
But to do that, they must get under the salary cap by March 12, as all NFL teams do. The Cowboys are about $20 million over the cap, which is expected to be around $121 million once the league year starts.
Romo is in the last year of a six-year, $67.4 million contract extension he signed in 2007. He is scheduled to make $11.5 million next season and his salary cap figure is $16.8 million.
"Tony is a key piece of what we're about going forward," Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said to ESPN.com. "We're certainly going to be looking at his situation (in) time. We've historically (extended contracts) with quarterbacks for the Dallas Cowboys ahead of time. We did it with Troy (Aikman) and we certainly want to look at that with Tony so we can all move forward in terms of how we want to play around our salary cap with our team. Tony is the key piece in terms of how your cap is represented."
Last season, Romo completed 65 percent of his passes for a career-high 4,903 yards, with 28 touchdowns and 19 interceptions.