There is constant debate over whether there will be any real interest at all from other teams in trading for Tony Romo, or if they will just wait for him to be released. However, this ranking lists him as the best shot a team would have at making a playoff run from among all the available quaterbacks.
1. Tony Romo (Current status: Under contract withthrough 2019)
The NFL is a risk/reward business, and there is no potentially available quarterback who highlights both extremes quite like Romo. When healthy, Romo has been a borderline top-10 QB in this league, with four Pro Bowl nods and more than 34,000 yards passing. He also missed time due to injury in 2008, '10, '13, '14, '15 and '16. Romo turns 37 in April and has not played a full 16-game schedule since '12; he has appeared in five games over the past two seasons.
The thing is that Romo has qualified for the playoffs as a starting QB as many times as the rest of this list combined. That's a franchise accomplishment, of course, but there is no doubt Romo made the Cowboys better. Put him on any team with a passable defense and a couple of offensive weapons, and it's a playoff threat in 2017.
The recent announcement that Tony Romo's wife Candice is expecting their third child has opened up speculation that he may change his mind about playing and instead retire and go into broadcasting. Mrs. Romo thinks he could have other options as well.
Along with the announcement that Tony and his wife, Candice, were expecting the birth of their third child in August, were some thoughts on where the 14-year veteran quarterback may land should he choose to hang up his cleats this offseason.
"I joked that he could be an amazing DJ. He loves music," said Candice in an interview with KCTK 96.7 FM/1310 AM The Ticket, via The Dallas Morning News. "You know what I think he'd be really good at? An actor. This is really crazy, but I think he'd be such a good actor. He's really more of a creative I think. He has a good balance of that type-A and creative.
"His timing is impressive, and I -- we're kind of movie connoisseurs and we love television -- we watch a lot of movies and things, and we just kind of watch the craft. I personally think he'd be a really good actor."
Dallas is facing its annual cap situation, where contracts are adjusted to come up with more space. It is currently $10.5 million in the hole for 2017. But cap hell is truly a myth, and our own VAfan offers a simple and concise explanation of just how quickly they can get things righted.
How is Dallas going to erase this $10.5 million deficit and give itself some spending money? Dallas has a lot of choices. Many have been discussed by BTB's own Jim Scott, and by Todd Archer of ESPN. We're going to provide some extra detail and put Dallas's moves into three categories - likely, possible, and unlikely.
The Cowboys have a huge issue coming with four of their defensive backs (Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Barry Church, and J.J. Wilcox) all set to enter free agency.
So much outside discussion this offseason centers on the defensive line and the importance of getting more pressure. Can't argue with that, even though the defense did improve its quarterback sack total by five in 2016 (36, ranked 13th). But stabilizing the secondary might be just as important, despite the uncertainty of free agency.
The Cowboys treat re-signing their own free agents as a priority. Terrell McClain may be one of the top targets to retain.
Why he's likely to return: He's carved out a starting role in the Cowboys' defensive front. He's physical and showed he can stay healthy for an entire season. McClain is a very good player, but not one dominant enough to command big money on the open market. He forms a solid rotation with Thornton and needs to return so the Cowboys can concentrate on upgrading the end positions.
Another free agent the Cowboys have to decide on is Barry Church, team captain. He is well aware that the eventual decision will not be anything personal.
Church knows that while there is familiarity and cordial feelings between himself and the Dallas front office, he understands it is a business. The safety is approaching the 30-year-old range despite entering his eighth year in the league. The Cowboys are $8.9 million over the salary cap and have 18 unrestricted free agents this spring, including Church. Dallas may not bring him back.
"It's definitely a business decision," said Church. "I've got my little one here right now, I've got my son, and my family, so I've definitely got to provide for them. So it's definitely going to come down to a business decision."
It's the time when NFL teams have to figure out if they are going to use the franchise tag on a player or not, and it is a tool that often results in problems with players who much prefer long term security over a big one year payday. That is a problem the Cowboys don't face this year.
In fact, it might be some time before the Cowboys use the tag.
Unless the Cowboys are unable to secure a long-term extension on Zack Martin by the end of the 2018 season, the next possible time the Cowboys could use the tag could be in 2020 for Dak Prescott. Maybe you would put Maliek Collins in that category if he develops the way the Cowboys believe he will.
Our former colleague here at BTB Joey Ickes lays out the argument for why the Cowboys must be prepared to spend some top draft capital to improve the pass rush.
With all of Dallas' recent successes in the draft across the rest of the roster, their inability to find a difference maker at defensive end has now cost them the chance at two Super Bowls in the last 3 years. The types of players that the Cowboys need on the defensive line are the same kind they acquired along the offensive line. They need a premium player, capable of being among the best in the league at his position.
The place where those players can be found is most often at the top end of the draft. Which is exactly why the team can't afford to stand pat, add more depth, or more long-term development projects from the third day of the draft, and hope that the players they have are able to round into enough form to give the team the kind of pass rush that can help the organization reach their ultimate goal.
Finally, another Jaylon Smith video to whet your appetite. No one knows exactly how far along his recovery is, but it is hard to not be optimistic when he is moving like this.