With the start of free agency and the new NFL league year less than a month away, the Dallas Cowboys are creeping up on a deadline.
The team simply needs to figure out what it is going to do with former Pro Bowl quarterback Tony Romo, who lost his starting job to Dak Prescott this past season due to injury.
We pretty much already know that Romo will not be returning to the Cowboys. He’s a starter-caliber quarterback that deserves an opportunity to see the field. Dallas understands this and seems willing to work with one of the best players in franchise history.
But like pretty much every situation around the NFL, it’s really not as easy as that. Sure Dallas would like to put Romo in the best possible situation to succeed. This could mean releasing him outright or trading him to a team of his choosing.
Though, there are issues at play with both scenarios. This has led to many questions about how the Cowboys plan on handling the situation. For his part, owner Jerry Jones seemingly doesn’t have an answer to this.
“I don’t know how ultimately we will resolve this. Nobody should be alarmed because you don’t have all the answers,” Jones said, via the Star-Telegram. “There are some issues here that you just got to see how the cards are played. But we’ll work through this.”
The issue at play here is that releasing Romo outright would cost the Cowboys a dead-cap hit of nearly $20 million. With the veteran set to count $24.7 million against the cap, Dallas’ would be better off keeping him on the roster as a backup. That’s the football standpoint we have to take into the equation.
On the other hand, there’s some thought out there that Dallas owes Romo an opportunity to close out his career as a starter. This would seemingly indicate a trade could be in the cards (more on that here).
Again, there’s an issue here. Romo’s preferred destination is the Denver Broncos, but they don’t seem willing to take on his current salary in a trade. New Broncos head coach Vance Joseph also recently indicated that the team is fully prepared to have its two current quarterbacks compete for the starting job.
See. If the Cowboys were to trade Romo, another team would then be forced to take on his current contract. And while a restructure could be in the cards here, that makes the entire situation even more convoluted.
What we do know here is that Jones respects Romo a whole heck of a lot.
“It’s no secret that I just think so much of him as a person and think so much of him as a player,” Jones said. “The team we have, especially the offensive side of the ball, was built for Tony. So this is what it is. It’s a juncture that we have to address.”
If that’s the case, look for the Cowboys to do everything in their power to cater to Romo. Unfortunately, business itself tells us a story that includes it being extremely hard for the Cowboys to release Romo outright. Short of that happening, look for potential trade scenarios to come up between now and the ultimate end of this drawn-out process.