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How The Cowboys Need To Be Ready If Tony Romo Gets Hurt

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Nobody wants to think about it, but the thought of losing Tony Romo is always in the back of our minds. The Cowboys need to take action to protect themselves against another ghastly situation.

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Stanley Kubrick Exhibition At The Caermersklooster Photo by Mark Renders/Getty Images

I wasn’t very old when I snuck out into the living room after my parents went to bed to watch the movie, "The Shining" on HBO. Not only was it past my bedtime, but my parents didn’t let me watch rated R movies at my age. And I soon learned why. As little Danny Torrance was riding his big wheel through the hallways of the hotel, he was having a blast. And who wouldn’t. That hotel was huge and provided a great race track for a kid and his big wheel, especially when there’s nobody around to get in the way. And here lies the problem. Everything was going great until he turned the corner and those two freaky little girls showed up. Now, I would have gotten the hell out of dodge upon my new discovery, but little Danny hung around and talked to his finger. I remember it going from a happy-go-lucky joy ride to completely stricken with fear in a matter of seconds.

And that’s exactly how I feel when I see Tony Romo on the ground holding his shoulder.

Now, the point here isn’t to drudge up a Stephen King-like nightmare and ask you to relive it with me. Someone recently asked me what is my biggest concern going into the 2016 season? After last year’s quarterback debacle, my biggest fear is the same as everyone’s - playing without the services of Tony Romo. But our front office seems to be holding their collective breath and wishing for the best when it comes to Romo’s health. What if we’re not so lucky? Imagine that you had "the shining" and possessed psychic abilities to where you could see things in the future, and one of those things was Tony Romo getting hurt?

Romo could hurt himself tomorrow, a few weeks from now, or in week two again, so at any given moment, the Cowboys could be without their star quarterback. What would the value of the backup quarterback be to the team then? For the sake of this scenario, let’s just go into this story with the main character already killed off. What options would best prepare the team for this type of horror?

Free Agency

The Cowboys had the chance to be aggressive in free agency. There were several to choose from. But just like they typically do in free agency, the Cowboys kept their cash in their pockets and let other teams overpay.

Chase Daniels was one of those deals. The Eagles gave Daniels a three-year, $21 million deal with $12 million guaranteed. He will be a cap hit of $5 million in 2016, $8 million in 2017, and $8 million in 2018 (if he’s still around then). This seems like way too much to shell out for a backup. And that’s what he supposed to be, a backup. The Eagles already handed out a two-year, $35 million deal to Sam Bradford in April and traded away a lot future draft picks to move up to get Carson Wentz.

Pro Football Focus tagged this decision as one of the worst moves in the 2016 offseason, but Bleeding Green Nation’s Brandon Lee Gowton came to their defense.

I get why people don't like the move. It's a lot of money for a backup, sure. It's not totally nonsensical, though. I bet you a team like the Cowboys would have really liked to have Daniel last year when Tony Romo got hurt. Dallas failed to invest in a competent backup and their season went down the drain.

Hmm, I can’t say that I’d disagree with him there. Having a competent quarterback can be the difference in keeping you in the playoff hunt or losing seven straight games. The Cowboys did not have a competent backup last year and they paid dearly.

All the viable options seem to be gone now. Did the Cowboys miss their chance in free agency?

The Draft

Some of us like Dak Prescott. I am one of those people. But the Cowboys had a shot to move up to grab Paxton Lynch and backed out of the bidding when the price got too high. Should Jerry and company offered more? Acquiring Lynch doesn’t mean the Cowboys would have a viable backup out of the gate, but he has the skills to give them a chance. And with a lot of great offensive pieces in place, he’d have it a lot easier than many other rookies that get thrown to the wolves.

Instead the Cowboys waited around until the late fourth round and took Mississippi State's Dak Prescott. Is this investment good enough or did the front office blow their opportunity to grab a better college QB?

A Trade?

Mike Glennon’s name has come up here and there regarding a potential deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but nobody really knows the reality of the situation. Mike Fisher tried to refute claims that a deal was in the works….

But just because there is no deal in place, doesn’t mean they’re not interested.

If Romo goes down, the value of a player like Glennon goes up and if the Cowboys wanted him, they'd be paying his high market price. If the team felt Glennon could play well enough to keep the team's head above water, wouldn't it be worth it to overspend a little?

Stand Pat On 17

And then there's Kellen Moore. Some wonder what the Cowboys season would have looked like had Moore took over as the backup when Romo first went down. After all, he started showing improvement the more he played. He threw for 435 yards against Washington during the season finale. The Cowboys offensive coordinator, Scott Linehan, is real privy to his ability as he saw him when they were both in Detroit. Maybe the coaching staff feels content with what they have already to be making any big moves. Of course, they felt that way about the quarterbacks they had last year and a couple of them got the ax.

The 2016 season has the making for something special, but that could all change in the blink of an eye. If this organization learned one thing last year, it’s that they must have a capable backup quarterback standing by just in case. If Romo goes down and they are once going mad for some serviceable quarterback play, it could be a scary time for Dallas fans.