IRVING, Texas (AP) -- Tony Romo won'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 includes $30 million in guaranteed money, according to a person familiar with the deal who requested anonymity because the contract has not been signed. A formal announcement is expected Tuesday
"Right now, we're just talking, but it's closer than it was before," Romo said late Monday. "I feel like I'm going to be with the Cowboys the rest of my career, definitely. I love it."
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 has been under a contract signed before he'd ever thrown a pass in the NFL. That deal ran only through this season.
After leading Dallas into the playoffs last season, Romo hoped to be re-signed over the summer. But team owner Jerry Jones opted to let the relatively unproven quarterback go into his first year in charge to make sure he was worth being paid as much as Schaub or Bulger.
Romo ended up showing he's worth more than either.
How? By being named the NFC's offensive player of the month in September, then coming out of October with Dallas holding the No. 1 offense in the conference.
Convinced Romo is the reliable leader the Cowboys have been looking for since Troy Aikman's career ended in 2000, Jones got the deal done in time for some of the dollars to apply to this season's salary cap.
It also is done in plenty of time to ensure that Romo will be the face of the franchise in 2009, when the Cowboys move into a $1 billion stadium that can seat up to 100,000 fans.
"It's a great feeling you have when the organization and the people stand behind you, and you can be the quarterback for a long, long time," Romo said. "It's a neat feeling that, `You're our guy, we like you.' ... It makes you feel good as a person and a player."
Teammates feel good about it, too.
"It's a sense of relief that he's got it out of the way," center Andre Gurode said. "Now he can move on with the season. I'm happy he's going to be here for a long time."
Linebacker Akin Ayodele considers Romo's payday a message that the Cowboys are serious about returning to glory.
"He's the future of the team," Ayodele said. "To have him signed, that's important because you want to establish your quarterback who is going to lead you through things and win you championships."
Romo is in his fourth year in the NFL, but has started only 17 games -- seven of those this season. Yet he's 12-5 and has won 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.
Teammates agree. They often say that for all the great plays he's pulled off in games -- like running back 33 yards to recover an errant snap and turning it into a 4-yard gain -- he's done even more in practices. That's why they rallied behind him so well when he took over last season and why he was voted a team captain this year.
It's also why Dallas was able to pull off a comeback win in Buffalo a few weeks ago, with Romo leading the charge even after it was his five interceptions and a lost fumble that got the team in trouble.
"We definitely feed off him," Ayodele said. "You know you are always in a game to win it."
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 game went from being close to being 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 gesture came before kickoff, meaning it was 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.
Pretty good for a guy who wasn't drafted coming out of Division I-AA Eastern Illinois.
With every great performance, Jones knew Romo's pricetag was going up. He figured it was worth it to make sure he knew what he was getting. 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 a few weeks ago. "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.
AP Football Writer Dave Goldberg in New York contributed to this report.