Dak to Future Should Push Romo to Move
Three snaps into the team’s third exhibition contest against the Seattle Seahawks, Romo was tackled from behind by Cliff Avril. It proved to be a costly tackle. One that caused the signal caller to sustain a broken bone in his back and miss the first half of the season. Or so we thought.
With Romo sidelined, Dak Prescott dazzled, and dazzled and dazzled some more. He’s led the team to a 9-1 record up to this point, including a franchise-best, nine straight wins. Along the way, he also set franchise rookie records for completions (214) and passing touchdowns (17) by a quarterback, previously held by Hall of Famer, Troy Aikman in 1989.
On Nov. 9, the day finally came in which Romo was medically cleared to return to football activities. The Cowboys had the decision to make. Move forward starting the red-hot rookie, or return to their veteran, who holds nearly every one of the franchise’s passing records.
After an intense, come from behind victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 10, team owner Jerry Jones officially named Prescott the starter for the remainder of the year. Two days later on Nov. 15, Romo held an impassioned press conference, in which he emotionally ceded his spot atop the depth chart to Prescott.
“Dak Prescott, and what he’s done, he’s earned the right to be our quarterback,” Romo said. “As hard as that is for me to say, he’s earned that right. He’s guided our team to an 8-1 record, and that’s hard to do. If you think for a second I don’t want to be out there, then you probably never felt the pure ecstasy of competing and winning. That hasn’t left me. In fact, it may burn now more than ever.”
Romo is now the No. 2 quarterback on the Cowboys. It’s a job that he willingly accepted with the hopes of helping the team achieve their ultimate goal, a championship. However, his career will not likely end as a backup, nor will it end with the Cowboys.
The fire remains burning in Romo’s heart. The uncanny passion that only a true leader and competitor can describe. He believes that he can still lead a team to a championship at the age of 36 despite tremendous durability issues and overall health concerns.
Where will Romo play next year?
That’s the million dollar question, but what’s the answer? In all likelihood, it won’t be in Dallas. If the Cowboys choose to employ Romo in 2017, they will also have to retain his contract, barring an unlikely restructure from both sides. He is owed a $14 million base salary, plus a $5 million signing bonus. Add in a $5.7 million restructure bonus and Romo will account for a $24.7 million cap hit. Quite a substantial dollar amount for an aging backup with an injury history.
Consequently, unless Romo decides to retire, the Cowboys have two options. They could trade him or grant him his outright release on June 1. If the Cowboys cut ties with Romo before that date, they could place a post-June 1 designation on the transaction to avoid salary cap acceleration ramifications. In either case, there has to be a team in the league willing to give him an opportunity to compete for the starting job if he plans on taking the field in 2017.
Today, we will take a look at quarterback-needy teams around the NFL that could be in the Romo sweepstakes this offseason.
- If Denver acquires Romo, he will have something that he’s never had during his tenure with Dallas, an elite defense. Denver’s defense would be able to bail Romo out when he makes the aimless mistakes that come along with his gunslinger mentality. He will also have a pair of the league’s top receivers, Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, on the outside and an established running game led by C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker. Romo’s addition would make the Broncos an instant Super Bowl contender in 2017 and possibly the favorite to win it.
- Romo to the Jets? Didn’t they do this with Brett Favre in 2008? Indeed they did, but would it be different this time around? Perhaps. The Jets have a talented trio of receivers that include Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker and Quincy Enunwa. A solid running game led by Matt Forte and Bilal Powell and a defense that is on the decline. Their window to win is closing. Marshall, Forte, Darrelle Revis and David Harris are on the wrong end of 30 and adding a 36-year-old Romo to that mix would give the Jets a core of veteran leaders in place to right the ship.
- Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, Marqise Lee, Julius Thomas, T.J. Yeldon and Chris Ivory. In the past, they all have proved that they could account for quality production. They are all under the age of 30, in their prime and are missing the piece to pull it all together on the offensive side of the ball in Jacksonville. Could Romo be that component that they are missing? A seasoned veteran with a history of success in the league? Maybe. Jacksonville, as a whole, is a young team that lacks veteran leadership on and off the field. Romo to the Jaguars is an intriguing marriage in which both sides could thrive. They wouldn’t be a Super Bowl contender at first, but they would certainly challenge for the division title in a weak AFC South with Romo under center.
Dark Horse Candidates
- Houston Texans
- Chicago Bears
- San Francisco 49ers
Despite all of his accolades, Romo is considered a choke artist by some. But will it be the Cowboys who choke if they let Romo go and he wins a Super Bowl elsewhere, while Dallas continues their 20-year Championship drought? His story is far from over, as he closes his chapter in Dallas, another will open with a new team and a clean slate in 2017.