Tony Romo will soon no longer be a Dallas Cowboy.
The Cowboys will release the franchise’s all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns on Thursday, sources told ESPN, allowing him the chance to sign with another team if he desires while removing any doubt that they have the utmost faith in Dak Prescott.
It is unclear whether the Cowboys will make Romo a June 1 designation, which would save the Cowboys $14 million against the cap this year, but Romo would still count $10.7 million on the 2017 cap and $8.9 million on the 2018 cap.
If they release him without the designation, the Cowboys will save $5.1 million against the salary cap but will carry $19.6 million in dead money for 2017.
The Cowboys are visiting with veteran quarterback Josh McCown on Wednesday, who would replace Romo as the backup quarterback if he signs with the team.
McCown was one of the Cowboys’ targets last summer after Kellen Moore broke his ankle in the first week of training camp, but the Cleveland Browns’ asking price was too high. McCown, who turns 38 in July, was released by the Browns earlier in the offseason after a two-year run with the club.
The release of Romo, who turns 37 in April, does not come as much surprise, although it was a move that pained owner and general manager Jerry Jones because of the close relationship he forged with Romo over 14 years.
Prescott’s play in 2016, which earned him Offensive Rookie of the Year honors, and the Cowboys’ a 13-3 record in 2016, all but clinched the decision. While the Cowboys could have afforded the $24.7 million salary-cap figure, in reality paying a backup quarterback $14 million made little sense.
Romo’s rise to the top of the Cowboys’ all-time passing chart started as an undrafted free agent out of Eastern Illinois in 2003. He eschewed a larger signing bonus from the Denver Broncos at the time to join the Cowboys.
Then-coach Bill Parcells took an immediate liking to Romo; however, he did not throw a pass in a game until 2006. After replacing Drew Bledsoe at halftime against the New York Giants, Romo made the first start of his career on Oct. 29, 2006, against the Carolina Panthers, throwing for 270 yards and a touchdown in a 35-14 win.
TODD ARCHER and ADAM SCHEFTER