Jerry Jones can't have it both ways.
He can't publicly claim he's going to "do right" by Tony Romo, yet hold onto his rights several days into free agency angling for some kind of trade value in return for his now former starting quarterback.
It is totally within his right to hold onto Romo and try to get some NFL Draft pick compensation in return from a team that is interested in the veteran quarterback's services such as the Houston Texans and Denver Broncos. This is, after all, a business, and Jones believes he has an asset that teams want and doesn't feel compelled to just release Romo and hand him to a team without getting anything in return. He wants to get something for the significant financial investment he has made in Romo.
He just doesn't get to also pretend that he's doing what is in Romo's best interests at the same time.
Jones was quoted in early March as saying, "… when you've got a situation like we got, we'll do the do-right rule. That's it. Very important. We do the do-right rule. We have that kind of relationship."
Except Jones has already gone against his publicly stated "do-right" rule. Every day he holds onto Romo only serves to reinforce that fact. Doing right by Romo would have been giving him his outright release at the start of free agency like Jones reportedly told Romo he would. Multiple league insiders, including Jane Slater and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, reported that Romo would be released at the start of the new league year last Thursday.
Evidently, something happened between that Wednesday afternoon meeting and when the time came to release Romo on Thursday of last week, and many suspect that it was the Texans' decision to trade former free-agent bust Brock Osweiler to the Browns and thus open the door for Romo to go to Houston. The idea of Jones just giving the other Texas team a guy who had been the quarterback in Dallas for a solid 10 years is likely just too much for him to stomach.
Thus, Romo is still a member of the Cowboys and has not been released.
Cowboys fans will insist that Romo and Jones are on the same page and that Romo is being kept up to date on the team's plans. Whether that's true is immaterial, because it is not "doing right by" Romo.
That's especially the case if Jones told Romo one thing and then went back on it.
"It was always in Romo's best interest to get released right away," David Moore of the Dallas Morning News told me Monday. "That way he could pick the team he wanted to and sign the contract he wanted to."
As of now, it looks like that's not going to happen. At least not anytime soon.
If Jones has been willing to wait this long how far will he be willing to take it? If this has turned into a Texas staredown between Jones and Texans owner Bob McNair, will it come down to which one will blink first? And when?
"I understand what they are doing, but if they aren't able to get anything for him by the end of this week they really need to release him," former Cowboys safety Barry Church, who recently signed a nice free-agent deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars, told me on the Ross Tucker Football Podcast on Monday.
The question Jones needs to ask himself is at what point is it no longer worth it? Is it worth holding onto Romo against his wishes and best interests all the way until the late April NFL Draft to try get a seventh-round pick out of it?
The question is not an easy one when you consider how much Romo has meant to the Cowboys in general and the Jones family in particular over the years, but it is one that Jones is going to have to ask himself in the coming days and maybe even weeks.
Hopefully he knows the right answer.