By now many of you must be wondering what will ultimately happen with Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys. It’s been weeks since the start of Free Agency, and before that the news broke that the Cowboys informed Romo that he would be released on March 9, and that was the last that anyone has heard about the team’s intent to release the veteran quarterback.
According to My Top Sportsbooks, there is still a decent chance that the Cowboys will cut Tony Romo, but the question is more a matter of when they will cut him.
Day 1 of Free Agency began amidst a flurry of trade talks. The Denver Broncos and the Houston Texans reportedly showed interest, if you were following the Dallas media. If you followed the Denver and Houston media, though, neither team was actually interested in trading for Tony Romo.
Reports from each location specifically denied the team’s interest in a trade, and only Houston really expressed much interest in him at all. In a clear statement, they said Tony Romo was not an option for them until he was on the open market.
The Texans struggled last year with second-year quarterback, Brock Osweiler, after giving him a considerably large, 5-year, $72M contract before the 2016 season. But during the season, Osweiler gave way to Tom Savage for several games and he wasn’t bad. Since then there has been a lot of talk about Savage possibly being the starter over Osweiler in 2017, and that talk was substantiated when the Texans traded Osweiler to the Cleveland Browns.
The Broncos had stated that if they were to pursue Tony Romo, it would also be on the open market, and that it would mean the team is finished with Trevor Siemian. Siemian started 14 games for Denver in 2016, while then-Rookie QB Paxton Lynch developed his skills and started two games. Lynch is the future of the franchise and the Broncos seem quite comfortable with that position.
So then where does that leave Tony Romo?
Well, for now at least, it leaves him on the Cowboys’ roster.
About the only thing that is certain at this point is that Dak Prescott is the starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, which means Tony Romo can be nothing more than a backup.
It’s quite the luxury the Cowboys have with Romo as a backup. They’re the only team in the NFL with a proven, high-caliber player in a backup role at a skill position. Sure, there are plenty of questions about his durability, but few can deny his ability to win games when healthy. So if Dallas decides to hang onto Romo for 2017, they wouldn’t necessarily be wrong, only wasteful.
Tony Romo is due more than $24M in 2017 if he remains a Cowboy. That’s a mighty sum to pay a backup, at any position. Many feel the Cowboys must release Tony to free up some of that cap space.
If the Cowboys were to cut Tony Romo today, they’d free up about $5M in space on the 2017 salary cap. His base salary of $14M would disappear and the prorated portions of his contract over the next three season would advance to 2017 (about $19M). If they were to designate Tony as a post-June 1 cut, the 2017 cap space would increase by $5M immediately, with another $10M available to them on June 2. The only downside to the June 1 option is that it would leave nearly $9M on the 2018 cap, which figures to be a problem due to the coming extension for offensive guard, Zack Martin, among other things.
Several teams are still in the market for a quarterback who can win, even if only tentatively, and Romo is no doubt aware of them all.
The Kansas City Chiefs are a distant possibility with increasing tension between starting QB Alex Smith and Head Coach Andy Reid. But Alex Smith is under contract through 2017, and has an option in his contract for 2018. Figuring Reid would take the smart approach and keep Smith on the roster, the Chiefs would have to shell out $16.9M to Smith on top of whatever contract they give Romo. That’s a lot of money for one position.
The Washington Redskins were an option, until they placed the franchise tag on returning QB Kirk Cousins. They also have Colt McCoy on the roster.
The San Francisco 49ers are under new management with first-time General Manager John Lynch stepping out of the FOX broadcast booth, and they’re not exactly happy with the best QB on their roster. Colin Kaepernick has sparked controversy in recent years for refusing to honor our National Anthem, and in combination with a few shortcomings on the field, this seems to be enough to warrant the Niners moving on. Both Kaepernick and their 2016 starter Blaine Gabbert are free agents.
The Chicago Bears signed Mike Glennon.
The New York Jets just signed Josh McCown to join Christian Hackenberg, and Bryce Petty on the depth chart. Ryan Fitzpatrick is a free agent.
The Buffalo Bills seem resolute with Tyrod Taylor under center.
And the list goes on and on.
The bottom line is this: if Tony Romo can stay healthy for a whole season, his current 2017 salary of $14M would be a bargain for any team that feels a top-rated quarterback is the only thing lacking for Super Bowl contention. But that’s a pretty big if.
Too big for most teams to swallow, it would seem.
The Dallas Cowboys are nearing very dangerous territory the longer they hold onto Tony Romo, preventing him from moving on to a meaningful opportunity with another team. Spots are being filled, leaving fewer openings for Romo to play, and that’s clearly what he wants, is to play, to compete.
Players throughout the league notice when a team places the team so far ahead of the player, and while everyone knows the NFL is a business, who really wants to work for a company who treats their employees badly? I outlined the case of another La’el Collins happening after this, should the Cowboys really do Romo wrong, on a recent episode of The Star Podcast. Give it a listen if you want to hear more about that.
Some are rumbling about doing Romo wrong by holding him back (myself included). Others are saying the Cowboys should force Romo to either back up Dak Prescott in 2017 or retire. But most seem to agree that Tony Romo is done in Dallas, one way or another.
For now, however, we are resigned to waiting. The Cowboys will make their intentions clear at some point, and logic would have that clarity coming before the NFL Draft next month, but only time will tell.
What do you guys think? Will Tony Romo be a Cowboy come September, will he even be in the league? I’d love to read your feedback in the comments below.
DT Leonard Williams May be Available, Should the Cowboys Explore a Trade?
Per a report by Rich Cimini of ESPN, the New York Jets may be exploring a trade for their star defensive lineman Leonard Williams. With Williams set to hit free agency in 2020, the theory is the Jets may not be interested in locking up Williams long-term after just drafting Quinnen Williams with their top five selection in 2019.
Here's what Cimini had to say in his report:
"There's already talk in league circles that Gase could be looking to move on from Williams, who will be a free agent after the season. He's due to make a guaranteed $14.2 million in the final year of his contract. Gase hasn't said anything about Williams that would spark speculation, but it's not hard to connect the dots when examining the defensive line situation."
Rich Cimini - ESPN.com
Williams has been a really good player for the New York Jets who has played 3-4 defensive end and some defensive tackle for the Jets in his four-year career. A former sixth overall pick has had as many as seven sacks and as few as two sacks a season, but he's played in all 64 games in his career, starting 63. He's stayed healthy and been productive on a Jets defense that hasn't been very good over the last few years.
For the Cowboys defense, he would project as a 3-technique with the ability to be the Cowboys 1-technique in passing situations. Among interior defensive lineman, Leonard Williams finished 21st in run stops per Pro Football Focus and sixth in total pressures with 53. Williams was third among interior players in QB hits with 16 ahead of Kansas City Chiefs Defensive Lineman Chris Jones and Seattle Seahawks Defensive Tackle Jarran Reed. For reference, DeMarcus Lawrence had 63 total pressures and 11 QB hits in 2018, while Tyrone Crawford had only 37 total pressures.
The Dallas Cowboys have been working to reinforce their defensive line this offseason after struggling in the playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams when the Cowboys gave up over 200 yards rushing. Though they like Antwaun Woods and Maliek Collins, they obviously weren't satisfied with the going into 2019 with just those two in the Dallas interior.
In free agency, the Cowboys added Christian Covington and Kerry Hyder and then drafted Trysten Hill with their second-round pick. They also added Daniel Wise, a player that was seen as a fourth or fifth rounder in most people's minds as an undrafted free agent and will compete for a roster spot.
As intriguing as Covington, Hyder, Hill, and Wise are in addition to Maliek Collins and Woods, Williams would be an immediate upgrade at 3-tech and the Dallas Cowboys should explore it, even if they don't plan on resigning him beyond 2019.
The Cowboys could swap expiring contracts by sending Maliek Collins to New York and a draft pick. Collins is unlikely to be resigned by the team in the 2020 offseason as they have plans for Hill as their 3-tech of the future.
The Dallas Cowboys showed with the trade for Robert Quinn that they're alright going after the one-year rental player. Leonard Williams would make their defense better for 2019 and while they have high hopes for Trysten Hill, Williams is a known asset right now and wouldn't prevent you from giving Hill snaps at 3-tech.
For a team hoping to make a Super Bowl run, adding a player like Leonard Williams makes a lot of sense. He's another disruptive player that would immediately improve your pass rush and also helps your run defense. The Dallas Cowboys have a team ready to win now, so now's the time to go get players that help you do so.
Cowboys RB Mike Weber’s Injury Scare Continues Concerning Trend
Rookie RB Mike Weber had a brief scare earlier this week with a knee injury in practice, but thankfully the MRI came back with a good report. However, as he fights to have a future with the Dallas Cowboys, this health incident is a concerning reminder of Weber's recent history.
One reason that Weber fell to the seventh round of the 2019 NFL Draft was due to battling injuries during his last two years at Ohio State. He lost his starting job in 2017 due to ongoing hamstring issues and also had to miss time last year because of a foot strain.
Carrying the load for the Buckeyes is a far different workload than being second or third on the Cowboys' RB depth chart. But this latest scare happened in early May, just two weeks after Mike joined the team and well before the more strenuous activities of an NFL offseason.
A practice injury can cost you just as badly as one that happens in a game. And with Dallas already thin at RB, it could leave them severely shorthanded if it occurs during the regular season.
Many have projected that the Cowboys' RB group in 2019 would have Ezekiel Elliott as the obvious starter and then rookies Weber and Tony Pollard behind him. While Pollard was drafted three rounds ahead of Weber, he's not built to take a large number of carries if Zeke were to go out.
If Mike Weber does make the team, he would be expected to take a sizable role if something bad happen with Elliott.
The "injury prone" label is disastrous for any athlete, but especially a guy with no real claim to a roster spot. If Weber causes concern in the front office about his durability, they may go a different way at final cuts.
Remember, Mike's not just up against Pollard and Darius Jackson for a roster spot. There are still plenty of veteran free agent running backs out there that Dallas could turn to if they're not confident about their young prospects.
This isn't too say that one scary moment in May, which ultimately didn't amount to much, is reason to cut bait with Mike Weber. But when you stack it up with his injury history in college, it does make you wonder how he'll do over the course of an entire NFL season.
Hopefully, Weber bounces back from this and has a great summer. Former Buckeye RBs have treated Dallas well the last few years, and it'd be fantastic if Mike can provide the same solid solid depth that Rod Smith did.
But this latest news is just a reminder of why Dallas can't rest easy at running back just yet, and why they may still have another move to make to prepare for 2019.
Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith Graduating From Notre Dame
The 2019 season is right around the corner for the Dallas Cowboys, with OTA's and training camp getting ready to kickoff in the coming weeks/months.
Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith made the most of his offseason, going back to Notre Dame to finish out his college degree. Smith is set to graduate from Notre Dame this Saturday, and will walk to earn his degree in Film & Television.
Smith talked to DallasCowboys.com's David Helman about why it was so important for him to graduate and finish what he started at Notre Dame.
“When I left after my junior year, I promised my mom that I would go back and finish...Finishing my third year with the Cowboys, it was time.” - Jaylon Smith
2,025 @NotreDame undergraduates will receive degrees during Commencement Weekend. That contingent includes @thejaylonsmith Yes, the current @dallascowboys & former @NDFootball All-American linebacker, who took 21 credits this spring #4for40 #GraduatingChampions #CEV
Smith continues his leadership on and off the field, and we all send our congratulations to the Cowboys starting MIKE linebacker!
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