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Source: Romo cashes in on new contract with Cowboys

IRVING, Texas -- Tony Romo didn't have to wait until the offseason to get his big payday from the Dallas Cowboys after all.

Romo has agreed to a six-year, $67 million deal that will be announced Tuesday, according to a person familiar with the deal who requested anonymity because the contract has not been announced.

The contract, which will become effective this week and provides salary cap relief for Dallas, includes $30 million in guaranteed money.

Cowboys spokesman Rich Dalrymple said the team would have no announcements Monday night. Other club officials did not immediately return calls.

Ken Kramer, who negotiated the contract for Romo, also was not available for comment.

Recently, quarterbacks Matt Schaub of Houston ($48 million) and Marc Bulger of St. Louis ($65 million) received six-year contracts. Bulger got $27 million guaranteed.

Schaub's Texans are 3-5, while Bulger's Rams are 0-8. Both have also been injured this season.

The Cowboys, meanwhile, are 6-1 and lead the NFC East.

Romo hoped to get a new deal this past summer. Team owner Jerry Jones opted to let the relatively unproven quarterback go into his first year in charge just to make sure he was worth a huge commitment.

The answer came quickly. Romo was the NFC's offensive player of the month in September and Dallas finished October with the No. 1 offense in the conference.

With Jones confident he had the right man for the job, it made sense to get the deal done now because Dallas is able to apply some of the salary cap impact this season.

Romo is in his fourth year in the NFL, but has started only 17 games. He's won 12 and done so in such dazzling fashion that Roger Staubach's grandson likes wearing Romo's No. 9 jersey, not his grandpa's No. 12.

"He's fun to watch," Staubach said recently.

Romo burst onto the scene last October, with coach Bill Parcells sending him in to replace Drew Bledsoe at halftime of a Monday night game against the New York Giants. His first pass was an interception and that close game turned into a lopsided loss. Yet his career was about to take off.

Dallas won five of his first six starts in such spectacular fashion that some fans hung Romo's name on the Ring of Honor in Texas Stadium on Thanksgiving. And that was before kickoff, which meant prior to him matching a club record with five touchdown passes.

This season, Romo already has set the club record for 300-yard games. He leads the NFC with 1,984 yards passing and 16 touchdowns; both are second in the NFL behind Tom Brady.

Pretty good for a guy who wasn't drafted coming out of Division I-AA Eastern Illinois.

With every great game Romo's had this season, Jones knew the pricetag for a new contract was rising. He figured it was worth it to reduce the risk. Besides, the better Romo does, the more money the team makes.

"A lot of times, you don't have a choice, so you've got to make a decision right there. But we have the luxury of time," Jones said recently. "It fits him, too. It lets him have a better feel for where he's going to be."

Being quarterback of "America's Team" has fit Romo quite nicely.

He's already dated country star Carrie Underwood and been linked in gossip magazines to Jessica Simpson and, as of this past weekend, Britney Spears. Romo spent his bye weekend in Los Angeles and wound up at the same place as Spears, landing him back in the tabloids.

"It comes with the territory, I guess," he said.

So do the big bucks.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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