With Tony Romo's future such a hot topic right now, any ripples in the pond are going to get attention. Lately, all of the ripples have been coming from the Denver Broncos.
Two prominent Broncos players have chimed in on the idea of adding Romo this week. What's more, Romo was just photographed hanging out with the greatest Bronco of all time and the current general manager.
At this point, there's little question that Romo will no longer be with the Dallas Cowboys in 2017. It seems now we're just trying to figure out how that will happen, either via a trade or just a release. Anything that makes it appear a team is truly interested in Tony, especially this early, is a good sign if you want Dallas to get something back in Romo's departure.
Let's look at each of these Denver-related ripples and see how telling they really are.
Emmanuel Sanders Wants Tony Romo
After four years with Ben Roethlisberger and two years with Peyton Manning, you can't blame Sanders if he has a high bar for who's throwing him passes. He went to the Super Bowl as a rookie and again last year, finally winning a championship. He saw firsthand what Manning's veteran presence did to help Denver claim the crown.
As recorded by Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk, Sanders would be very happy with the idea of Tony Romo taking over at quarterback for the Broncos:
“I believe I would benefit But one thing about it is: I’m always gonna take it back and I’m just gonna put it on John Elway. In John Elway I trust. If he does bring him over, I think Tony Romo will fit good in [offensive coordinator Mike] McCoy’s system. It’s a no-huddle, up-tempo offense. I think that it’s gonna be similar to the Cowboys. I think he has Demaryius Thomas and some receiver No. 10 on the other side. I feel like we will win ballgames with Tony Romo or potentially a championship."
To be fair, though, Sanders didn't completely forget about the guys who he worked with in 2016. Still, it was clear he didn't see them as the best options.
"At the same time, Paxton Lynch played in a spread offense at Memphis and he can be successful. I think Trevor can be successful. We’ll see what we do. I can’t sit up here and say ‘Bring Tony Romo!’ because I also have two other quarterbacks that are playing really well too.”
It's interesting to note that Denver already has the guy, Paxton Lynch, that the Cowboys coveted in last year's draft. How ironic would it be if Lynch got to spend a year or two behind Romo after all?
Clearly, Emmanuel Sanders has put some thought into this. His talk about the style of the offense and Romo's potential fit shows this wasn't just some spontaneous response. Given that, you have to wonder who else he's discussed this with in the Broncos organization.
DeMarcus Ware Wouldn't Mind a Reunion
For eight seasons in Dallas, Ware and Romo fought together to try to return the Cowboys to Super Bowl glory. After becoming a salary cap casualty in 2014, Ware joined up with Denver and finally got his ring. You know he would love to see Tony enjoy the same experience.
Like Emmanuel Sanders, Ware was positive when considering the possibility of Romo joining the Broncos. However, the 12-year veteran was a bit more careful in his remarks. He made sure not to throw the young quarterbacks under the bus, as reported by Troy Renck:
"(Romo) will be a great fit. But you got vested guys already in Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch. You gotta think about the kind of message do you want to send to the team. Do you want to send to them just like when I came in (with) (Aqib) Tailb and Emmanuel -- is it a right now thing? Or do you want to use your vested guys sand say we are going to build this team way we want to build it?"
Even if Tony Romo joins the Broncos there's no guarantee that he would be playing with DeMarcus Ware. After only appearing in 10 games due to injury this year, Ware goes into 2017 as an unrestricted free agent. He turns 35 this summer and may have a hard time finding work, especially after season-ending back surgery.
Just Hanging Out With John Elway
Perhaps the most intriguing ripple came from a recent political event in Washington D.C. As you can see below, Tony Romo was in some interesting company.
Tony Romo with John Elway at House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's victory party (photo from @glennstearns):
At this time there is no official word that Tony Romo has been given permission to talk to other teams. If Romo and John Elway did discuss his coming to Denver, it would fall under the NFL's tampering rules. The Broncos would be subject to fines and potential loss of draft picks.
Let's get real, though. We know tampering happens and it's just a matter of who's smart about it. Romo and Elway could have easily talked shop over cocktails and nobody would ever know. Frankly, it's naive to think that they didn't.
~ ~ ~
If the Denver Broncos really do want Tony Romo, the next thought for us Cowboys fans is what we might get in return. It's very hard to answer that because we don't know just how much Denver feels they need him.
The Broncos do have a window to capitalize on their great defense, making it dangerous to wait on one of their young quarterbacks to develop. They may feel that adding Romo allows them to maximize their current talent and compete in the AFC now while Paxton Lynch or Trevor Siemian gets ready for the future.
Because they have those two guys, though, Denver has plenty of leverage. They certainly won't give up a first-round pick for Romo and I doubt even a second-rounder. After investing a first in Lynch year, they won't double down on quarterback with high picks in consecutive seasons.
There are, of course, lots of other ways this could go. Dallas might accept a later pick rather than lose Romo for nothing, or they may look at trading for a current Broncos player at a position of need. Then again, Denver may just wait things out assuming Romo will get released and sign him as a free agent.
Perhaps all of this is for naught and Romo isn't even on Denver's radar. However, at this early stage it's the most that any one team has been talking about or seemingly connected to Tony. These few ripples are only the beginning, though, of a flood of speculation.
Cowboys & DeMarcus Lawrence Fail to Reach New Contract
DeMarcus Lawrence will definitely be a Cowboy in 2018, but now the future beyond that remains in question. The Dallas Cowboys and their star defensive end did not agree to a long-term contract by today's deadline for franchise-tagged players.
According to NFL rules, teams had until 4:00 pm EST today to reach contract extensions with free agents who'd been assigned the franchise tag earlier this offseason. Players who did not get new deals will have to play the 2018 season on their one-year franchise tenders.
DeMarcus Lawrence and the Cowboys were unable to work out a long-term contract by today's deadline. Lawrence will play the 2018 season under a one-year franchise tag that will pay him $17.1 million
This does not mean Lawrence will be a free agent in 2019. The two parties can still discuss the contract in the months to come, but the deal cannot be made until after the end of the regular season.
Dallas also has the option of giving DeMarcus a second franchise tag next year. However, that would come at a considerably higher price for a second-straight season.
This year, Lawrence will still make plenty with one of the highest cap hits of any DE in the league. He earned the franchise tag last with 14.5 sacks in a breakout season.
Today's news may not really be a big deal in the long run. As long as Tank wants to stay in Dallas after this, the two sides now have over five months to keep talking and will hopefully agree on a new deal for 2019 and beyond.
There is risk on both sides, of course.
Lawrence's leverage could be less if his productions drops or he gets injured. On the other hand, his position could be even stronger with a second-straight year of strong play.
Now everyone, from the team to player to fans, is in wait-and-see mode until the end of the season.
Will Cowboys WR Noah Brown Do Enough to Make the Roster?
The Dallas Cowboys aren't short on numbers at wide receiver on their current 90-man roster. Looking to replace Dez Bryant and reshape their offense, the Cowboys will have to find the right group of pass catchers for Dak Prescott at their upcoming training camp.
The odd men out from this group will likely be the ones that can't sustain a consistent level of play, doing so across multiple units if needed. All ten receivers will have their flashes, but with only four being true locks to make the team, new Cowboys Wide Receivers Coach Sanjay Lal will be in on some tough decisions right away.
One such decision may be moving on from last year's seventh round pick Noah Brown out of Ohio State. Vouched for by former Buckeyes teammate Ezekiel Elliott thanks to his blocking ability on the outside, it may now be this strength in the run game and deficiency as a pass catcher that spells the end of Brown's run in Dallas.
Normally, a seventh round pick being on the roster bubble wouldn't be this noteworthy, but Brown clearly showed the potential to outplay this draft status as a rookie. Appearing in 13 games, Brown is a true X receiver, although not the dominant one the Cowboys are searching for.
Moving away from fielding a true number one receiver, the Cowboys did sign Allen Hurns to play this spot while prepared to spread the ball around to Williams, Beasley, and Gallup after that.
This leaves Thompson, Wilson, Cannon, Lenoir, McCay, Murdock, and Brown to prove their worth in other ways to make the roster. I've written plenty about the potential rookie Cedrick Wilson has, so I'll be expecting a strong showing from him to earn a role in the Cowboys offense.
Wilson's skill set could push a depth signing like Deonte Thompson off the team, although his ability to back up Cole Beasley/Tavon Austin on special teams is important. The same can be said about Lance Lenoir, who like Brown has the advantage over first year players given his trials through training camp and the preseason a year ago.
Long shots to make the team, Cannon, McCay, and Murdock fall just below this group -- and somewhere in the middle is Noah Brown.
Increasing his role on special teams as the season went on last year, Brown had fans throughout a coaching staff that is now drastically changed for 2018. From their shift to more speed on offense, to drafting of both Gallup and Wilson, calling Brown a fringe player on the Cowboys roster really sets up the fiery competition to come at wide receiver.
Should the Cowboys find a spot for Brown, one can only hope it means this new coaching staff has a clear plan for him to contribute on both offense and special teams outside of being a run blocker. A potential niche for Brown is his red zone ability, not afraid to put his body on the line for jump balls and fight through contact in his routes.
It won't be long until we sort out if this is enough to make the Cowboys as a wide receiver ahead of Quarterback Dak Prescott's third season.
Cowboys CB Marquez White Facing Assault Charges
Player news this time of year is often not the good kind, and such is true of a new development with Dallas Cowboys Cornerback Marquez White. The second-year CB is facing aggravated assault charges for an incident last October.
According to the report, White displayed a legally owned firearm during a "road rage" incident.
Marquez, a sixth-round pick of the Cowboys last season, has made his side of the story public. The following account was released by White to The Dothan Eagle, his hometown newspaper:
Naturally, we're in a wait-and-see situation as to how this case unfolds and impacts White's availability to the Cowboys in 2018. He is one of several players hoping to catch on at the bottom of the CB depth chart, having spent his rookie season on the practice squad.
This latest legal issue is especially unwelcome news after other Cowboys' recent problems. The team has seen David Irving get suspended four games for illegal substances and Terrance Williams' get arrested for public intoxication in the last two months.
Last year, Linebacker Damien Wilson was charged for aggravated assault in a somewhat similar situation to that of Marquez White. Those charges were eventually dropped.
What happens in White's case remains to be seen.
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