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.
Steelers add to Jaguars frustrations with late comeback
Any hope that the Jaguars were going to turn their season around on a November Sunday in North Florida ended abruptly, as Ben Roethlisberger fueled a 16-point second-half comeback and the Steelers handed Jacksonville their sixth straight defeat.
The Jaguars controlled most of the first three quarters, but unfortunately had only three Josh Lambo field goals to show for their excellent play in the first half. And, their 9 – 0 lead going into the 3rd quarter came back to haunt them later on.
Outspoken but talented defensive back Jalen Ramsey stepped up big with two interceptions of Roethlisberger, while being matched up head-to-head on Antonio Brown of Pittsburgh. This came on the heels of a Sunday morning ESPN report that the Jaguars would likely try to trade the third year cornerback this off season to rid themselves of his antics off the field.
The Jags denied the report in a statement, and Ramsey looked up to the challenge early
However, Brown did shake loose for a 78-yard bomb in the third quarter with that Pittsburgh back in the game at 16 – 6. It was the beginning of the end for Jacksonville.
And, unfortunately for the Jaguars, an all too familiar theme took shape, again, in the second half. This, as Blake Bortles was once again virtually ineffective throwing for just a 104 yards and was sacked six times on the game.
Then, when Roethlisberger led the Steelers to another touchdown with under six minutes remaining hitting TE Vance McDonald on an 11-yard score, it wast 16-13.
Once more, Jacksonville’s offense could do nothing and gave the ball back to Pittsburgh for one more opportunity for Roethlisberger to play the hero. He hit Juju Smith Schuster-with a long completion inside the Jacksonville 25 yard line, and then, another pass over the middle Bryant put them down inside the 4-yard line with under :20 to play.
Two plays later Roethlisberger scrambled just into the end zone with only :05 remaining in the game and the comeback was complete.
In stunning the Jaguars and their home fans, Pittsburgh won its six consecutive game. Further, they dealt a likely fatal blow to Jacksonville’s hopes to get into the playoff race, as they now stand at 3-7.
Despite Leonard Fournette having a strong day with almost a hundred yards rushing and the lone touchdown on an “Up and Over” dive in the third quarter, the Jags once again showed that their biggest flaw is: that can’t throw the football with any down-filled success and get quick scores with any regularity.
And unlike 2017 when they’re plodding, run-based offense was effective, time and again, it’s been exposed in 2018 for losses.
With the win the Steelers do get a measure of revenge after being swept last year by Jacksonville including a while 45 – 35 playoff loss in the divisional round at Heinz Field.
Report- Jaguars will explore trading DB Jalen Ramsey
The soap opera involving controversial and outspoken Jags defensive back Jalen Ramsey took another turn Sunday morning. That’s when ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Jags are going to seriously consider trading Ramsey at the end of this season.
Schefter made the comments on ESPN’s Sunday morning “NFL Countdown” pregame show and also wrote about it on ESPN.com, citing League sources:
Jaguars likely to consider trading CB Jalen Ramsey in offseason, per league sources.https://t.co/WzlgVgVRiO
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 18, 2018
As we wrote earlier this week, Ramsey made waves when he tweeted Monday after the Jags fifth consecutive loss that Jaguar fans were going to “miss me when I’m gone.”
Ramsey tried to downplay the controversy, when he met with the media on Thursday, and said that he was only talking to “fake Jaguar fans.” And further, he said that he wants to finish his career in Jacksonville.
We’ve documented the off-season of headaches that included: Ramsey not showing up to OTAs, delaying arriving to training camp by 5 days after the birth of his daughter, and being outspoken in an article on GQ.com criticizing multiple quarterbacks including the Jaguars opponent today, the Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger.
And he and former teammate Dante Fowler were both suspended for a week during the preseason for their behavior at a Jags training camp practice, where Fowler was trying to get into a fight with teammate Yannick Ngakoue.
Earlier this week, Coach Doug Marrone took an unusual step for him and actually specifically mentioned Ramsey by name, as having blown a key coverage in the first half on a Colts touchdown pass to tight end Eric Ebron.
Later Sunday morning, the Jaguars released a statement denying the trade rumor:
Statement regarding CB Jalen Ramsey. pic.twitter.com/e7qquci86b
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) November 18, 2018
Ramsey was a top-10 pick of the Jaguars in 2016 and is in the third year of his four-year rookie deal. So that makes the rumors about a possible trade after the season even juicier, because he’s much more affordable for another team to acquire right now.
The Jaguars will take on the Steelers later today at TIAA Bank field.
Gameday- Jaguars rematch Steelers looking stop losing streak
Who: Jaguars (3-6) vs. Steelers (6-2-1)
When: Sunday 1 p.m.
Where: TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville
Spread: Steelers by 5 1/2 points (Courtesy of VegasInsider.com)
Here’s what to watch:
Build on last week’s offensive success
The Jaguars came to life on the offensive side of the ball in Indianapolis. Even though it was a 29 – 26 loss, Leonard Fournette was back for the first time in five weeks, ran tough and ended up with two touchdowns. As we have well-documented, he also help set up the play-action pass that has been sorely missed on a consistent basis for Jacksonville.
Blake Bortles (shown above in January’s playoff win) was able to hit Donte Moncrief with an 80-yard touchdown and the Jags had their best offensive output, since game four of the season.
More than likely, the Steelers will put some points on the board, and Jacksonville has to be ready to keep up with them.
Slow down Big Ben
In their two wins last season at Pittsburgh, the Jaguars defense was more than opportunistic against Ben Roethlisberger. They had five interceptions in the regular season win and then, two more takeaways in the AFC divisional playoff win were all critical.
The Jags come in with only eight takeaways in nine games, so far. And, it’s one of the big reasons they are on a five game skid.
If Jacksonville gives Roethlisberger time to throw without sacking and knocking him down or at least pressuring him into early errant bad decisions, it’s going to be a long day.
Get the Swagger back.
Somewhere along the way, the Jaguars have lost part of what made them good in 2017. They played as a confident, almost cocky, football team, especially on defense.
They have been humbled in one decisive loss after another, recently and that swagger is not there.
Playing at home Sunday, can Jacksonville revive some of that attitude in front of the home fans by making some big plays early? There will be a large contingent of Steelers fans on hand, as they always travel well.
Let’s see if it makes a difference being back at home for the first time in almost a month.
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