Will Tony Romo be a Dallas Cowboy in 2017?
Will Tony Romo be a Dallas Cowboy in 2017?
When Dallas Cowboy star quarterback Tony Romo was injured in a pre-season game, most fans never dreamed rookie Dak Prescott would take his job. The conventional wisdom in Cowboy Nation was that the job would be Romo's as soon as he healed from his injury. However, the year 2016 has proved be unconventional in many ways. Besides the fact New York real estate tycoon Donald Trump won the presidency against long odds, Prescott led the Cowboys to an amazing 13-2 record and the NFC East championship with one game remaining in the regular season. That means the Cowboys have a legitimate chance at winning their first Super Bowl since the early 1990's.
Where does that leave four time Pro Bowler Romo? Gathering splinters on the bench as the backup quarterback earning more than $20 million a year. It's possible the talented Romo may never take a single snap this season because of Dak's extraordinary success as a rookie. Speculation has been rampant the Cowboys will trade Romo to another team if Prescott were to lead America's Team to a Super Bowl. Even with the astronomical salaries NFL stars command today, $20 million is a steep price to pay for a second stringer.
Possible destinations for Romo
There are several teams who might be interested in Romo in 2017 if Jerry Jones does decide to trade him. The Arizona Cardinals would be a possible landing place for the quarterback, according to a recent article in the Washington Post. Rumors are circulating this might be current quarterback Carson Palmer's last year in the desert. If that proves to be the case, the Cardinals will definitely need a quarterback. The Chicago Bears also appear to have lost interest in their current quarterback Jay Cutler, who has been inconsistent. Romo would be in a position to give the Windy City team an instant injection to their offense. However, the team which has been mentioned most frequently as Romo's next home is the Denver Broncos. With a great defense, the Mile High team might be only a quarterback shy of winning another Super Bowl.
What will Cowboys do with Romo?
Several options continue to be discussed in Dallas about what Romo's fate should be. If the Cowboys keep Romo in 2017 as a backup, they will owe him more than $20 million. While it would be great to have a backup of Romo's caliber, no owner wants to pay a backup that kind of money. So does that mean America's Team should trade him? The problem with that is they would still be stuck with paying most of his $20 million dollar salary while he toiled for Denver or some other team. That's probably not a great financial move there, although they should be able to get a player or draft choice in return for him. Financially, the best option might be to cut Tony and avoid taking such a huge salary cap hit. The Cowboys wouldn't get anything in return for him, but they wouldn't have to pay him $20 million next year either.
When will Cowboys decide on Romo's fate?
The good thing for the Cowboys is they don't have to make a decision on Romo until after this season is over. If Dak remains healthy and leads the 'Boys to a Super Bowl victory, Dallas won't think twice about either cutting or trading their veteran quarterback. But what if Dak throws four interceptions in a playoff game, thus preventing the Boys from making it to the Super Bowl? Would that cause the Cowboys to have second thoughts on Dak? Would Jones feel like maybe he needed to hold onto Tony for 2017 in the hopes he could get them to the Super Bowl?
Romo to start before playoffs?
There are those who believe the Cowboys should start Romo before the playoffs so he can knock the rust off in case he's needed for the playoffs. Tim Cowlishaw, respected sports writer for the Dallas Morning News, recently wrote, "I feel like I'm alone in thinking he (Romo) should play the second half of the Eagles game, assuming the Cowboys have clinched the top seed. I don't know why you wouldn't do that. Makes sense to preserve your starting QB, makes sense to give Romo some time on the field, see how he looks, make sure when he gets bumped around or sacked, it's not the end of his season."
Should Romo start in the playoffs?
Who should the Cowboys start in the playoffs? Fox Sports recently wrote, "Romo is the better quarterback. He holds franchise records for just about every relevant passing statistic and is one of the most accurate quarterbacks in NFL history. He has the third-highest passer rating of all time and is fourth in completion percentage. Those are numbers no sane person can argue with. In his past five seasons, Romo has thrown 129 touchdowns and 55 intereptions. Take out his injury-filled 2015 season and his numbers are even better."
Support for Romo comes from other quarters including The Inquisitor which recently ran an artile which said the following: "One of the main reasons why I believe Romo should win back his spot and be the main pick in the playoffs is quite simple: experience. The historical precedent shows that "rookie" signal callers like Prescott tend to struggle in the postseason."
The article further says, "Indeed, since the merger, there has been a shocking 15-42 touchdown to turnover ration for fresher quarterbacks, according to Pro Football Reference. Indeed, only three of these passers managed to top over 200 yards. Clearly, Romo has experience and knowledge in those situations that Prescott simply cannot match---if history is any indicator."
Which quarterback can lead Cowboys to Super Bowl?
Romo has a 60 per cent completion rate in the playoffs in his career ( six games). He has thrown eight touchdowns against only two interceptions during previous playoff appearances. In contrast, Prescott has never stepped on the field in an NFL playoff situation before. Prescott has yet to figure out how to defeat the New York Giants. In two regular season games this years the Giants defense pretty much shut Dak down, and the G-Men won both games. The most recent game was a 10-7 affair in which Prescott could only muster a single touchdown the entire game. Romo has consistently led the Cowboys to greater point totals against Eli Manning and the Giants.
The Giants have made the playoffs, and the 'Boys will likely have to defeat them to make it to the Super Bowl. The Cowboys would appear to have a better chance against New York with Romo at the helm than Dak.
Why has New York beaten Dak twice?
One of the reasons the Giants have beaten Dak Prescott twice is because they don't respect his deep passing game. New York has a quality defense and by stacking eight defenders in the box, or close to the line of scrimmage, they can stop the run of Cowboys' super running back Ezekiel Elliott. Against Romo, who is adept at throwing deep passes for touchdowns, the Giants can't afford to risk playing eight men close to the line of scrimmage. If Dak is to be successful against the Giants in the playoffs, he would have to start throwing the ball deep more often than he has so far in his career. By starting Romo, the Cowboys would force the Giants to play more defenders back to cover his deeper throws, which open up more running room for Elliott.
Jerry Jones decision
Several NFL general managers have disagreed as to how the the Cowboys are better served, but ultimately it will be Jerry Jones decision. Defenses are tougher in the playoffs and if other teams adopt the Giants strategy against the Cowboys, a major question remains as to whether Dak can throw deep often enough to be successful. Dallas has protected him with a short, conservative passing game in the regular season, but will that be enough in the playoffs? Who should the Cowboys start in the playoffs if they want to win their first Super Bowl of this century?