Well, now we know why the Cowboys have been so interested in trying to extend the contract of quarterback Tony Romo.

Apart from the importance of reducing his $16.8 million cap number for 2013, Romo’s contract was crafted in a way that prevents the Cowboys from applying the franchise tag in 2014.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Romo’s contract extends beyond 2013 by three years. (According to NFLPA records, it definitely does.) Thus, Romo will become a free agent in 2014 not by the expiration of the deal, but by the voiding of the final three years.

And while the deal apparently doesn’t include a no-tag provision, Rapoport explains that the deal will void after the deadline passes for using the franchise tag.

In other words, Romo won’t be a pending free agent — and in turn not eligible to be tagged — during the two-week franchise-tag window in February 2014. Then, after the window closes, the contract will void, making Romo a free agent.