Tony Romo appears on the verge of becoming a free agent for the first time in his career. The Dallas Cowboys quarterback believes he’s close to being released, which would allow the franchise to dump the three years and $54 million left on his contract contract. The Cowboys will incur a $19.6 million cap hit to do so, but in the long run dumping the 36-year-old signal-caller is probably the right move.
If Romo does hit the market, he’ll instantly become the top signal-caller available and several ideal destinations will be open to him. Here’s a look at the teams that could provide the perfect fit for the four-time Pro Bowler.
Yeah, I know the Texans just signed Brock Osweiler to a four-year, $72 million contract last offseason, but that has clearly been shown to be a huge mistake. The thing is, Houston is really a solid quarterback away from being a Super Bowl contender.
Even without a competent player under center, the Texans went 9-7, won the AFC South and beat the Oakland Raiders in a Wild Card game. Think of what they could do with a solid quarterback.
Romo would have Lamar Miller at running back, along with DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller at wide receiver. Throw in a fantastic, J.J. Watt-led defense and you’ve got a team ready to compete consistently for the final few years of Romo’s career.
Speaking of a great team in desperate need of quarterback production, the Broncos are exactly that. While Denver has publicly maintained that the franchise plans to continue moving forward with Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch under center, if they really want to win this coming season, bringing Romo in makes a lot of sense. With a solid quarterback this team could contend for another Super Bowl.
Despite possessing one of the NFL’s most intimidating defenses, explosive receivers in Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders and a solid running game, the Broncos went just 9-7 and missed the playoffs in 2016. Why? Because Siemian and Lynch combined to throw for 20 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while completing less than 60 percent of their passes. Denver also ranked fourth in the NFL in yards allowed (316.1 per game) but finished 27th in the league in total offense (323.1 yards per game).
John Elway needs to at least pick up his phone and see if Romo is interested. He’s a far better option than what’s currently on the roster.
New York Jets
The Jets were 5-11 in 2016 and were terrible offensively. That said, they were 11th in total defense (342.4 yards per game) and have a solid group of guys to build around with Leonard Williams, Darron Lee, Muhammand Wilkerson and Calvin Pryor. Plus whatever they get for Sheldon Richardson if they do, indeed, move him. What they don’t have is a competent quarterback on the roster.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bryce Petty and Geno Smith combined to complete just 56.5 percent of their passes and threw for 16 touchdowns and 25 interceptions. Their combined quarterback rating was a dismal 67.6. No one on the Jets roster is going to take that team to the playoffs, especially not Christian Hackenberg. The Jets also finished 26th in total offense (329.3 yards per game), despite getting more than 1,500 combined rushing yards from Matt Forte and Bilal Powell.
The issue for Gang Green was the passing game, and they desperately need a guy like Romo to come in and sort things out. Brandon Marshall is likely to be cut, but a healthy Eric Decker, Quincy Enunwa and potentially another young wideout could give a Romo some solid targets. Throw in the fact that he’d be playing in the spotlight in New York and the marketing opportunities he’d get as a result and this could be a solid fit.
The Bears have had a hole at quarterback for years as the Jay Cutler era has been a mess from start to finish. Romo would at least give them stability at the position. The team’s quarterbacks combined to throw 19 touchdowns and 19 interceptions during the 2016 season. So nice and balanced, right?
While Chicago has found its running back of the future in Jordan Howard, receiver may be an issue. Alshon Jeffery could be franchise-tagged again this offseason but that’s not a guarantee, and Cameron Meredith looked good in stretches during his rookie season, but can he hack it long term? Meredith’s 66 catches for 888 yards were certainly impressive.
The Bears have combined to go 9-23 in John Fox’s first two seasons in Chicago. A huge part of the problem has been the team’s inconsistent quarterback play. Romo would vastly improve anything they have available to them right now. Matt Barkley is not the long-term answer. Romo could be.
Before you toss this out as a stupid idea, go take a look at Jacksonville’s roster. There is a ton of young talent there. The Jaguars ranked sixth in the NFL in total defense in 2016 (321.7 yards per game) and have solid young building blocks on that side of the ball. Jalen Ramsey, Malik Jackson, Telvin Smith, Myles Jack, Yannick Ngakoue and Dante Fowler Jr. can all get the job done. The issues come on offense.
If the Jaguars aren’t confident new head coach Doug Marrone can turn Blake Bortles around, why not make a run at Romo? Jacksonville ranked 23rd in the NFL in total offense (334.9 yards per game) and averaged just 19.9 points per contest. The talent is there on offense at the skill positions. Wide receiver Allen Robinson is ready for a breakout and Marqise Lee finally got healthy and looked like a playmaker late in 2016. The Jags need to find a go-to running back and shore up the offensive line, but a guy like Romo could make a lot of their issues look a lot smaller.
Jacksonville went 3-13 in 2016 despite having a talented roster. That tells me they aren’t far from making a major turnaround.