Where will Tony Romo land? That is the question that everybody keeps talking about, and the time for an answer is likely drawing closer. While the Cowboys technically don’t have any deadlines to make this decision, other teams will force their hand in all likelihood. As free agency opens and teams start signing players and spending money, a deal for Romo could be pushed into happening.
Todd Archer breaks down a lot of the chatter about Romo that occurred during the Combine, with anonymous coaches and general managers discussing the merits of going after Romo. But the section that’s getting a lot of play is the mention of possible landing spots that were discussed at the Combine.
“The Cowboys hold the cards,” the agent said. “Do they want to win and get something ludicrous for him? But then it’s what does Tony want because he’s Tony Romo and you want to do right by him. I think it could take a matter of hours, not a weeklong process.”
In private discussions with executives and coaches from teams across the league, Romo’s future destination kept coming back to two teams: the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans. Others mentioned the Kansas City Chiefs, San Francisco 49ers and even the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Broncos situation has been covered plenty. The word from that camp, which could always change, is that they would be interested if Romo was released. But the Cowboys are trying to drum up a trade. Here is how Clarence Hill summed it up in a video with Mike Florio at PFT.
Third, Hill said the Cowboys at least for now are waiting for a trade offer to materialize, possibly from the Broncos or Texans, in the hopes that Romo would accept the deal.
Fourth, Hill said Jones told reporters recently that he already has spoken to Romo, and that Jones said he has gone over all scenarios with Romo, which would allow a decision to be made quickly if necessary.
Fifth, Hill believes Romo would be inclined to take a Greg Hardy-type contract that pays Romo based on the number of games he eventually plays. That could make it easier for a team like the Broncos or Texans to justify adding Romo. If he plays, he gets paid. If he doesn’t play, he doesn’t get paid.
As for trades, Albert Breer at MMQB thinks it wouldn’t be as hard to trade Romo as some have made it out to be, a position many of us at BTB have agreed with. He lays out a possible situation with the Texans, but notes a pessimistic ending to this trade.
Trading for [Romo] would be easier than most think. Romo is due $14 million for 2017—a below-average rate for a starting quarterback—and his base salaries of $19.5 million and $20.5 million in 2018 and ’19 would in essence serve as team options, with no guaranteed money left in Romo’s deal. The Texans do, at least as of right now, have sufficient cap space to take on the existing contract. The question is whether they’ll want to, which would probably be a tougher call for them than parting with a middling draft pick. Burgeoning star corner A.J. Bouye is likely to get upwards of $14 million per on the open market, and bringing in Romo may mean saying goodbye to Bouye and a few other free agents. My feeling is that, if the season started right now, Tom Savage would be under center for the Texans. And Houston feels good about him. But Romo would be an upgrade.
Archer's article mentioned the Broncos, Texans, Chiefs, 49ers and Jaguars as possible landing spots. We’ve discussed the Broncos and the Texans. The Chiefs seem unlikely as they have made numerous declarations this offseason that Alex Smith is their guy going forward. The 49ers also seem unlikely as they are no where close to win-now mode and seem much more interested in Kirk Cousins than Romo.
The final mention, a somewhat new one, is the Jaguars. While they would violate the win-now rule usually attached to Romo, there is the question of how bad are they really? Is it just their quarterback holding them back? The Jaguars have two good receivers, an above-average defense and plenty of cap room and a high draft pick. They play in a weak division that is easily winnable for any team. Could they be a better team with a new coach and a new quarterback?
Jacksonville as a dark-horse does make some sense when you think about it. Blake Bortles regressed last year to the point where it’s very uncertain as to whether he is their quarterback going forward. Allen Robinson is a formidable receiver, who went from 1400+ receiving yards in 2015 to under 900 last year, and could conceivably return to form with a better passer.
While going to Denver or Houston — and, as we keep saying, a remarkably clean bill of health — would give Romo a better chance to win a Super Bowl than Jacksonville, there are certainly worse fits out there for him.
We’ll see soon enough what the Cowboys, Tony Romo and the rest of the league figure out.