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ESPN’s John Clayton Projects Tony Romo As Chicago Bears 2017 Starting Quarterback

John Clayton is calling it now, Romo will be the starter for Chicago in 2017.

There's been a lot of speculation in recent months over Tony Romo's future. Some people, Jerry Jones chief among them, would like Romo to stay in Dallas, even if that would likely be as the backup to Dak Prescott. Others don't see a scenario where Romo would spend another season as a backup anywhere.

One of those people is ESPN's John Clayton, who projects Romo to be the 2017 starter for the Bears in a post where he projects which teams will have new starting quarterbacks in 2017.

Chicago Bears

Projected 2017 starter: Tony Romo

The Bears will likely part ways with Jay Cutler, and I've said for more than a month that they need to use their second-round pick to draft a quarterback and try to groom him for the future. They could also make a call to New England for Jimmy Garoppolo, offering an Alex Smith type of deal -- a 2017 No. 2 and a 2018 No. 3 that could become a No. 2. If that doesn't work, the Bears should sign Tony Romo, who could be released by the Cowboys as a post-June 1 release, which would eat up only $10.7 million of their 2017 cap.

For this to work, John Fox has to stay as coach. Romo might prefer to stay as a backup in Dallas rather than going to a rebuilding team with some coordinator taking his first chance as a head coach. Fox could sell Romo on the idea that the Bears are one draft away from being decent on defense. Then, in the second round in April, the Bears could pick a quarterback of the future while having Romo as their starter for the present.

Romo is without a doubt the most accomplished quarterback who could be available next year, even if injury concerns may drive down his market value or maybe even scare off teams.

But it takes two to tango, and the situation Clayton describes in Chicago is certainly far from ideal for Tony Romo. However, Romo's options may be limited, at least if Clayton's projections are anything to go by. Here's a quick rundown of the teams that Clayton believes will have an opening at QB next year and who Clayton thinks will fill the spot:

  • Chicago Bears: Tony Romo
  • Buffalo Bills: Mike Glennon
  • Cleveland Browns: Jimmy Garoppolo
  • New York Jets: Jay Cutler
  • San Francisco 49ers: Tyrod Taylor or Nick Foles

That's it. Five potential landing spots for Romo. And there's a good chance all five could have new head coaches next year, which is why Clayton points out that for Chicago to work for Romo, John Fox needs to stay on as the head coach.

But wait, wasn't there some speculation about the Cardinals or Broncos as potential landing spots? Not according to Clayton, wo sees the Cardinals sticking with Carson Palmer and the Broncos trusting Trevor Siemian (and Paxton Lynch waiting in the wings). Even Minnesota, where fans and team alike hope that Teddy Bridgewater will return some time in 2017, is unlikely to replace one interim QB with another.

Maybe Romo's best bet is to stay in Dallas after all.

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