The inevitable questions about Tony Romo’s future status in Big D came a lot faster than most expected. As Mason Crosby’s last second field goal just snuck inside the left upright Sunday night to complete the Packers stunning win over the NFC’s top seed, “what to do with Romo?” followed almost immediately.
Here’s what we know: the Cowboys team/locker room is clearly Dak Prescott’s. The rookie not only played brilliantly for most of the 2016 regular season, but after a slow first half, he led Dallas’ stirring comeback to tie the game at 31. That included Prescott showing the elusiveness and instinct needed on a crucial two point conversation to tie the game at 28.
He then led the pressure packed tying field goal drive in the final minute to get the game to 31-31. Alas, he watched like everyone else, as Aaron Rodgers made an incredible throw to Jared Cook and the Cowboys season was “cooked” shortly afterwards.
With the end, comes roster evaluation for Dallas and Romo is a significant part of that. And, would another team, like the one in Jacksonville, be interested, if he’s available?
The Jags clearly have to look at all options besides QB Blake Bortles, and this includes a veteran, who could come in and help them win immediately. Romo would in theory fit that profile. That’s if, Jacksonville wants the “win right now” mentality.
Here are the realities: Romo will turn 37 in April. In each of the last two seasons he’s suffered injuries (collarbone two years ago and back this year), which have basically kept him out the entire year. His salary for 2017 with bonuses is near 25 million and the Cowboys are on the hook for 19 million in figurative “dead cap,” which means they pushed bonus money into this year of the deal and it counts no matter what. That is, even if Romo is traded, the “dead cap” will count.
Obviously, it’s a big deterrent to trying to trade him. What most likely has to happen for that is Romo would have to agree to re-structure his deal and make less money. This, in hopes that the Jaguars, Broncos, Texans or someone else interested, would take the chance on a 37 year old QB for a season or two to help them….if he can stay healthy.
Now, this all supposes that Romo wants to leave Dallas in the first place. And, we know that Jerry Jones has over the top loyalty to him and would probably be willing to keep him at that price to be the backup. His future in big D will likely only consist of a headset and/or clip board.
And before you take the opinion “you can’t pay 25 million for a backup!” Remember, that Dak Prescott is making less than a million as a fourth round pick. And, under the CBA rookie salary rules, Dallas can’t give him any more until his four year deal is up. So the 2017 price tag for both QB’s isn’t that ridiculous and you could keep both like you had this year.
So will Romo stay in Big D, and be content to let Dak, barring injury or a long stretch of awful play, be the guy? Would Romo re-structure to play immediately somewhere else in 2017? Will he retire at age 37 and walk away from almost 25 million more? (almost no chance)
Then, for the Jags: should they pursue a trade with Dallas at much lesser salary cap price? Not the craziest scenario for sure. And we also know that new Jaguars VP, Tom Coughlin, got to see plenty of Tony Romo twice a year, every year, while coaching the Giants. Is he that impressed to consider a deal? What does Coughlin want to do at QB in free agency or the draft? Actions (or inaction) will tell us more.
For now, we are left to wonder. Romo in Black and Teal in North Florida on Sundays? Hey, we saw Favre in Viking purple, Emmitt Smith in Cardinals red and even, Peyton Manning in Broncos orange at the end of their careers, as just a few recent examples.
It’s no less crazy to think Tony Romo a Jag…..if they actually would want him.