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.
Maliek Collins Playing Excellent for Cowboys Defense
For the Dallas Cowboys on the interior, a lot of the news consistently surround the availability of Defensive Tackle David Irving, but Maliek Collins is playing excellent right now. While I'm willing to be very patient with Irving because of the elite talent he brings, Maliek Collins should continue to start for the Dallas Cowboys at 3-technique defensive tackle.
Collins has been a player that the Cowboys have bounced between the nose tackle and the 3T position with the hopes of getting their best players on the field, and because of the lack of a consistent presence at the 1-technique or nose tackle position. Well, with Antwaun Woods taking control at the 1T, Collins has been able to play at the position where he's at his best. The 3-tech.
He hasn't put huge numbers in the sack column this season, but that doesn't mean he's been absent from being the disruptive player he's been through his first two and a half seasons.
During the Dallas Cowboys five game winning streak, Maliek Collins has led the Dallas Cowboys defensive tackles in total pressures with 13, according to Pro Football Focus. PFF combines sacks, quarterback hits, and hurries into their "pressures." Collins hasn't recorded a sack during the winning streak, but he has four quarterback hits and nine hurries. He's tied with Tyrone Crawford for third in total pressures behind DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory over the last five weeks.
Over the last five weeks, Collins leads the defensive tackles in solo tackles with five and is tied with Crawford and Antwaun Woods with three run stops on defense, according to Pro Football Focus. Collins has also has two tackles for loss in the last five games and recovered Tyrone Crawford's force fumble on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Collins had six sacks in his rookie season when he played primarily as the 3T, which allowed him to see more one-on-one blocks against opposing interior offensive linemen. Especially with the way the rest of the defensive line is playing.
With the Cowboys on the road to face the Indianapolis Colts this week, Collins is going to have a tough matchup with a very good Colts offensive line, in particular, rookie Quentin Nelson. Collins ability to get pressure on Andrew Luck on the interior is a huge key for the Dallas Cowboys this week. We know that Gregory and Lawrence will get their pressures, but if Andrew Luck is able to step up into a clean pocket, it will make for a much more challenging game for the Cowboys secondary.
Collins has proved to be up to any task over the last five weeks and if he's able to keep playing at such a high level, he'll make the Cowboys coaching staff, and the rest of Cowboys Nation forget about using other defensive tackles. For the Cowboys to make a deep push in the playoffs, they'll need Collins to be a big time player for them moving forward.
Amari Cooper Wins 2nd NFC Offensive Player of the Week Award of 2018
For the second time in just three weeks, Dallas Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper has been named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week.
Cooper scored three touchdowns, including the game winner in overtime, to lead the Cowboys to victory last Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. He has 10 catches for 217 yards, which led all NFL receivers last week.
After his record-setting performance during week 14, @AmariCooper9 is the FIRST #DallasCowboys to win NFC Player of the Week twice in a season! → https://t.co/kvBDIeOgBd #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote
As the official website stated, Cooper is the first Cowboy to win the award twice in the same year. He's also the first Cowboy to be named Offensive Player of the Week since Ezekiel Elliott in 2016.
Before this year, Elliott was the only Dallas player to win the Offensive award in three seasons. Cooper has now done it twice in three weeks.
Since being traded to the Cowboys, Amari Cooper has amassed 40 catches for 642 yards and six touchdowns.
His wasted time in Oakland may keep Cooper out of the Pro Bowl this year, but he's already become a fan favorite in Cowboys Nation. Congratulations to Amari for another well-deserved award!
David Irving Out Again for Cowboys, Does Defense Need Him?
Dallas Cowboys Defensive Tackle David Irving, once a key member of the team's defense, will not make his return after all against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. For the second straight week, Irving was reportedly trending towards suiting up before being ruled out. The Cowboys haven't missed his unique presence for 13 weeks (playing against the Jaguars and Redskins), including through an ongoing four game win streak that began with a win against these Eagles on the road.
In that road win, veteran Tyrone Crawford recorded a sack and three tackles, while Antwaun Woods added two for a Dallas defense that held Philadelphia to 23 first downs and 71 rushing yards. The Eagles managed to cross the Cowboys' 30-yard line just four times.
There are many scenarios in which the Cowboys could have cut ties with Irving for not being worth the off-field trouble he's caused - beginning the season with a four game suspension. The absolute best case scenario is what they've realized amidst this turnaround, with other defensive linemen taking advantage of the opportunity left behind by Irving.
While it can still be true that Irving would make more splash plays than the likes of Crawford, Woods, Maliek Collins, and Caraun Reid, this defensive tackle group deserves praise for their ability to step in. Pass rush ability is one thing teams can't have enough of, and the Cowboys are missing some with Irving, finding ways to win thanks to the other traits these defenders bring to the table.
Cowboys Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard may effectively be the team's defensive coordinator with an emphasis on the back seven, but DC Rod Marinelli's impact is still felt - particularly up front. Regardless of where they're lined up and deployed, the Cowboys front four is expected to be disruptive on every snap, something this scrappy unit excels at.
Prepared once again to play on the edge this season, Crawford is thriving at his original position of 3T-DT. Crawford has two sacks, nine total tackles, and three other hits on the quarterback over the past four weeks. Leading by example with a relentless spirit on every play, Crawford has meant just as much to the Cowboys defensive ends as Irving could.
In a short period of time, the Cowboys have gone from building up Irving thanks to his transcendent ability to make those around him better to simply -- and importantly -- being better across the defense.
Led by DeMarcus Lawrence as their premier rusher, the Cowboys defensive line is a lot for opposing offenses to contain. The "Hot Boyz" work up front has allowed Linebackers Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch to play fast and make plays all over the field.
Maliek Collins, battling back from his second broken foot in three years, is proving again he's a patented Marinelli guy. Collins' play speaks for itself when considering if the Nebraska product is best as a 3T or 1T tackle. Wherever he's asked to play, Collins creates penetration with an explosive first step and can finish at the quarterback with an array of power rush moves.
At 7-5 and fighting for their playoff lives, the Cowboys are done making excuses on the 2018 season. Their strides on defense speak for themselves, and with a group that keeps Dallas in every game they'll play, the door remains open for David Irving to earn snaps again when ready.
The Cowboys don't know any better than their play without Irving right now, and as winners of four straight, it's worth questioning if we'll see Irving over the last three weeks of the regular season.
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