By Evan Biancardi
The National Football League season has officially ended, and after what was arguably the greatest Super Bowl ever played, it is time to look ahead to what will be a very busy offseason. Each week, we will take a look at some of the biggest storylines, and it is only right that we begin with Tony Romo and the Cowboys’ quarterback situation.
Romo has made headlines all season long for various reasons. After over a decade as the franchise quarterback of America’s team, Tony Romo was benched this past season in favor of rookie Dak Prescott. Prescott went on to have a historic season, leading the Cowboys to a 13-3 record and winning Offensive Rookie of the Year. Romo, meanwhile, finished the 2016 season having only played on one drive.
The Cowboys have three options for dealing with Romo this offseason. The first option is to keep him. While the chances of this happening are slim to none, it is a possibility if Dallas is able to restructure some of its heavier contracts. Realistically, though, Romo will not be a Cowboy next season.
The second option is to trade him. Many teams have been floated around as potential suitors for the four-time Pro-Bowler. The Broncos, Jets and Texans have been mentioned as contenders and make the most sense for both Romo and their respective teams. Romo has also been connected to the Cheifs and Bears. The Chiefs would be an interesting fit for Romo, but Kansas City will likely stick with Alex Smith as its quarterback. The Bears, meanwhile, are in desperate need of a quarterback, and although Romo did play for Eastern Illinois University, it would not be a good fit for him. Whereas the other teams listed would be championship contenders with the addition of Romo, the Bears still have other holes that need to be filled before they can be considered a real threat.
The third and final option for the Cowboys is to release Romo. This is the most probable outcome and definitely the easiest to execute. Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones has emphasized his loyalty to the quarterback and wants to abide by Romo’s wishes. While it is still uncertain as to what the Cowboys could get in return for the quarterback, this move would give Romo the liberty of choosing who he wants to play for in 2017, while also clearing the most cap space.
Regardless of whether Romo is traded or released, the Cowboys would retain 19.6 million dollars in dead money on next year’s cap. If the Cowboys do release him and designate him as a post-June 1 cut, though, then Dallas would be able to split that cap hit over the next two years. This would allow the Cowboys to better address their issues on defense through free agency, which begins March 9.
Unless a team is able to come up with an intriguing package for the 36-year-old quarterback, Tony Romo will likely be cut sometime in the near future. And once Romo hits the open market, my guess is he will stay in the lone-star state and sign with the Houston Texans.