"I think you've got to put (Romo) up high," Austin told NFL Network's Good Morning Football on Wednesday. "Obviously, we didn't get a chance to win a championship. But as far as statistically and what he did for the franchise, I think you've got to stack him up there, right among Troy, right among Staubach. I think you've gotta put him right on that tier.
"And you can stack them however you want based on championships and other things, but for me personally, what he's done for me in my life and what I know he's done for the organization, you've gotta respect that. And I do."
Austin was an undrafted free agent out of Monmouth who joined the Cowboys in the same year (2007) that Romo became a full-time starter. Austin reeled in 301 receptions for 4,481 yards and 34 touchdowns during his seven seasons with Romo and the Cowboys.
Romo was granted his release from Dallas on Tuesday and subsequently retired and accepted a job as the lead game analyst for CBS.
The longtime quarterback has been considering his future over the past few months and the television opportunity led to him ending a 14-year career spent solely with the Cowboys.
Romo, who turns 37 on April 21, is the all-time leading passer in Cowboys history with 34,183 yards and 248 touchdown passes.
He lost his starting job in 2016 after a preseason back injury pushed rookie Dak Prescott into the No. 1 role. Prescott went on an unexpected run and won Offensive Rookie of the Year, leading the Cowboys to the divisional playoff round where Dallas suffered a last-second loss to the Green Bay Packers.