Tony Romo’s days with the Dallas Cowboys are over.
Dallas’ all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns is set to be released by the organization on Thursday, allowing him the change to sign with another franchise.
The 36-year-old compiled a total of 34,183 passing yards to go along with 248 touchdowns, 117 interceptions and a 97.1 quarterback rating for “America’s Team” during his 13-year career.
After losing his starting gig to rookie Dak Prescott while recovering from an injury last season, the face of the Cowboys franchise will either retire or play elsewhere in 2017.
When speculating where his next home may be, it’s important to realize a couple of things.
First, his recent injury issues are a concern. Over the last two seasons, he played in a total of five regular season games, and one of those appearances came in Week 17 of the 2016 season when he entered the game for one drive.
Secondly, he’s just two years removed from the best season of his career. In 2014, he led Dallas to an NFC East title by throwing for 3,705 yards with 34 touchdowns and just nine interceptions with a quarterback rating of 113.2.
He was one of the best quarterbacks in the entire NFL that season, which is one of the reasons why he will instantly be a hot commodity the second he’s released.
Since Romo will clearly seek a starting gig, there is a short list of teams that might be a fit. The Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns, New York Jets and Chicago Bears are most likely the teams in the running.
However, one of those teams has an early edge according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Denver is “clearly in the driver’s seat in the potential Tony Romo free agent sweepstakes”, he said. He also added that Romo would need to be willing to take a pay cut from his $14 million cap hit he’s set to receive in 2017 in order to make a deal happen with the Broncos.
On Wednesday night, Broncos president Joe Ellis was asked about the Romo situation and he offered the following, via Denver’s 9News.
“I’ll leave that to John,’’ Ellis said, referencing John Elway. “I don’t know what John’s plans are specifically. I make a point of not asking him because then I would know and I’d have to tell you right now … It will be interesting to see what we do. I’m sure John has a plan and he’s ready to execute it.’’
Denver, who will roughly $35 million in cap space to play with once free agency opens on Thursday, certainly has the funds to land the veteran quarterback.
We’re in good shape,’’ Ellis noted. “It’s never been and never will be an excuse. We’re going to be aggressive I think. John has always been very smart looking at the value of each player, weighing that and determining that as it pertains whether we ultimately sign.”
Most importantly, he pointed out, “We’re not going to take any reckless chances and I don’t expect him to do that but I’m sure he’s going to be aggressive tomorrow and for several days after.”
Just one season removed from Peyton Manning’s magical Super Bowl run, the Broncos were left with Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch to man the most important position on the field.
Siemian saw most of the time under center and threw for 3,401 yards with 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in Denver’s run-first offense. However, he completed just 59.5 percent of his passes and was also sacked 31 times.
Lynch, a 2016 first-round pick, saw limited time on the field and threw for 497 yards with two touchdowns and an interception while completing 59.0 percent of his passes.
Therefore, it seems as though Romo would be a natural fit.
Similar to his success in 2014 with Dallas, the Broncos have shown a preference to pound the ball in the running game and likely wouldn’t ask him to drop back and throw 40 times a game.
Plus, since the Broncos have one of the best defenses in the NFL, not a lot of pressure would be on Romo’s shoulders. Just ask Peyton Manning, who won a Super Bowl despite being one of the worst statistical quarterbacks in the league back in 2015.
It’ll be a game of numbers of course, but in the end, if Romo wants to win his first Super Bowl, there is no better franchise to sign with.
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