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Why Can’t The Cowboys Trade Tony Romo?

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While Cowboys Nation continues to wait for Tony Romo’s departure, many fans are wondering why it’s so hard to trade him.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most puzzling things for Cowboys fans right now is how the team is not able to work a trade deal for the services of Tony Romo that would give the team something reasonable in return. The Cowboys don’t have a fifth-round draft pick in this year’s draft because they traded it way in 2015 when they got Matt Cassel from the Buffalo Bills. Surely, if Cassel is worth a fifth-round pick, a quarterback like Romo should be able to net the Cowboys a decent pick, right?

Well, it’s not quite that simple.

The problem is that interested teams aren’t really haggling with the Cowboys over how much he’s worth. Dallas has very little leverage over the situation and that is because everyone knows the Cowboys have to cut him loose. With that aspect a foregone conclusion, teams can just sit back and wait for his inevitable release.

However, once Romo hits the free agent market, then new negotiations begin. Teams will now have to compete with any other teams interested in signing him and that could create a new set of obstacles. There could be a bidding war or a team could just outright lose out because of some personal preferences from Romo himself has to where he wants to go.

If a team is genuinely interested in Romo, they should consider offering up some draft stock to avoid having to compete for him in free agency. It is similar to how some teams approach the later rounds in the draft where they might select a different player to avoid the UDFA competition that they would otherwise have to go through (Rico Gathers is this type of example). This doesn’t mean a team has to give away a premium pick for Romo, but rather a pick that is better than another interested team may be willing to give up.

And here lies why the Cowboys are being patient. Just the inclination that he was going to be released a few days ago allowed interested suitors to resurface. Was this a trade tactic by Jerry Jones? Maybe.

By now we’ve heard that both the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans have claimed that they aren’t willing to trade for Romo and will just take a look once he’s released. That could very well be true. But it could also just be another smoke screen in an attempt to appear disinterested. Truth of the matter is we don’t know what type of offers, if any, have been discussed. What we do know is that if Romo is traded or not, it is not indicative to his true worth. It is a direct reflection of the specific events of the situation. The Eagles were able to get a first-round draft pick for Sam Bradford because the Minnesota Vikings were desperate when Teddy Bridgewater went down to injury. And the Bills were able to get a fifth-rounder from Dallas for Cassel because the Cowboys were restless about their QB situation after Romo went down in the second week of 2015. Timing is everything.

So the Cowboys just continue to wait. The free agent shuffle could open up some new players in the Tony Romo sweepstakes. With Brock Osweiler traded to the Cleveland Browns, that certainly could open the door for Romo to continue to play football in Texas. As some teams quarterback plans don’t go according to how they had hoped, maybe they will become more interested in Romo.

The Romo ordeal is a convoluted situation. It’s an oddity that a rookie QB has the type of season that Dak Prescott has had and that coupled with the financial implications of Romo’s contract drives the decision for the front office. They will continue to hold out as much as they can to look for the best deal for Romo, but if something doesn’t change to make a team more thirsty for his assistance, it shouldn’t be that outlandish that the Cowboys don’t get much in return.

It can be frustrating and we will all hope the Cowboys can gets something for Romo, but it’s a dicey situation. It’s still possible that a new development could boost his trade value, but only time will tell.