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 WR Tavon Austin Skipping Surgery, May Return in 2018
A groin injury sustained last week against Jacksonville won't send Tavon Austin to injured reserve, at least for now. The Dallas Cowboys receiver has elected to forego surgery at this time, giving him a chance to return to action in 2018.
There was concern that Austin could land on IR initially following the Jaguars game, but he sought a second opinion this week. It appears that this new information was enough for Tavon and the Cowboys to decide that surgery can wait.
Sounds like WR Tavon Austin will not have surgery at this time after getting a second opinion on his groin injury. He could miss a few weeks, however. #cowboyswire
Austin should miss this Sunday's game with the Washington Redskins. He has been the team's punt returner this season and a useful tool on offense, playing mostly receiver but also lining up the backfield at times.
Despite his limited opportunities, Tavon is tied with Cole Beasley for the team lead with two receiving touchdowns in 2018.
How long Austin will remain out is unknown at this time. After the Washington game, Dallas will have their bye week and then host the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football.
Both of these are games that the Cowboys, feeling good after a blowout victory over Jacksonville, should be able to win without Austin. But they would certainly like him back for the Week 10 road game with the Philadelphia Eagles.
In Tavon's absence, Cole Beasley will likely field punts. We may see more of Deonte Thompson in the speed routes that Austin ran on offense, though Dallas could also finally see what recently returned Brice Butler has to offer.
With an expiring contract this year, Tavon will likely want to get back soon and trying to improve his stock for the 2019 offseason. Hopefully, he can still have a positive impact on his value and the Cowboys season in the weeks ahead.
Terrance Williams: Details, Impact of 3-Game Suspension
Terrance Williams was already missing games on injured reserve, but now the Dallas Cowboys receivers is going to lose some money as well. Williams was finally hit with a three-game suspension by the NFL, starting immediately, for his public intoxication arrest last May.
Dallas placed Terrance on IR in Week 5 just a day before their game against the Houston Texans. Williams had been struggling with a foot issue since the offseason, which included a surgery that he hadn't fully recovered from.
Many were surprised that Williams wasn't suspended to start the season, given that his arrest occurred several months prior. But when charges were eventually dropped after Terrance took part in some required alcohol education courses, it appeared the league might be letting the issue go.
However, as Cowboys fans know all too well, Roger Goodell's NFL operates its own judicial system.
In Williams' case, the suspension will only result in lost game checks. Players still get paid when on IR, but Terrance will lose that amount of his $3.5 million base salary.
Because he can serve the suspension while injured, Terrance will still be eligible to be recalled from injured reserve in December after sitting the mandatory weeks.
The real issue for Williams now is how this event, and his general fall from grace in the Cowboys offense, will affect him in the next offseason.
Terrance is in just the second season of a four-year, $17 million contract he signed in 2017. If he's released after this year, Dallas would save $2.25 million of his scheduled $4.75 million cap hit in 2019.
Williams' cap hit isn't the issue by itself. That would be a bargain for a significant contributor in your offense, even if he was just the third receiver.
But Terrance appears to have fallen well below that spot on the depth chart. Cole Beasley, Allen Hurns, and Michael Gallup are the top three receivers these days, and veteran Deonte Thompson has also been getting looks. Dallas also brought back Brice Butler a few weeks ago, though he hasn't really been worked in yet.
Not only that, but the Cowboys will have the option to recall Noah Brown from IR in just a few more weeks. He was one of their more intriguing young prospects prior to getting hurt.
Dallas could let Terrance come back next year to compete, hopefully with full health and less personal baggage. But after six seasons, they may be ready to move on to players with more room to grow.
For now, though, Terrance Williams is out of action and out some money. We'll see what the future holds.
Report: Austin Heading to IR: Deonte Thompson is the Next Man Up
Tavon Austin's stint with the Dallas Cowboys has been up and down through six games. He's provided some big play ability on the outside, but hasn't really had the running room on jet sweeps that the Dallas Cowboys would have hoped for when they acquired Austin from the Los Angeles Rams during the 2018 NFL Draft.
Now it's being reported by Brandon George from the Dallas Morning News that Austin may be headed to injured reserve for a groin tear suffered in the Dallas Cowboys week six win over the Jaguars.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said WR Tavon Austin will be getting a second opinion on his injured right groin in the next day or so. He didn't discount possibility of him being placed on injured reserve.
Whether Austin goes to injured reserve or not remains to be seen, but we do know that he'll miss week seven and likely won't be able to suit up for a while. Though Austin hasn't been relied upon much, he has been a threat that opposing defenses have had to account for in both the passing and running game. Tavon Austin leaves a bit of a hole.
Enter Deonte Thompson.
Deonte Thompson, who was signed by the Dallas Cowboys this past offseason, hasn't been the same type of rushing threat that Austin has been in his NFL career. Thompson's only carried the ball two times in his career for -5 yards. However, Thompson has some skills that could bode well should the Dallas Cowboys decide to use him in the jet sweep role that Austin is vacating.
He's been a return threat in his NFL career, averaging 24.8 yards per return. He's had returns of 47, 64, and 74 yards. He's also had some good moments running after the catch in his career, though he hasn't gotten many opportunities.
Thompson's a former track athlete and before the 2012 NFL Draft ran a 4.30 40 yard dash. He has the speed and a bit more size than Austin to make some things happen if given the opportunities.
The jet sweep has become an important staple in the Dallas Cowboys offense. Even when they don't hand it off on the sweep, they use it in play action, to set up screens, and even to get the defense thinking about it on direct hand offs to Ezekiel Elliott. They aren't going to want to scrap that part of the playbook just because Austin will be sitting out. Deonte Thompson can be that guy. Much like Marquise Goodwin in San Francisco, Thompson has elite speed.
He's not just football fast. He's fast-fast.
When I was in high school, I played baseball. In the baseball program I was fast. The fastest on the team. That was my game. Infield singles. Stretching doubles to triples. Stealing bases. I was fast. I went out for track my senior season because I thought, "hey I'm fast, let's see what would happen if I ran the 100-meter-dash." I found out really quickly that there is a difference between baseball fast and track fast.
The same applies to football and track. Deonte Thompson is track fast. He's a guy that the Dallas Cowboys need to get the ball to on those jet sweeps to continue to threaten defenses sideline to sideline. When it's working, as we've seen with Lucky Whitehead in the past and Tavon Austin this year, it opens up a lot for the Dallas Cowboys offense.
It's likely that Cole Beasley gets those first jet sweep attempts, and as a trusted veteran for the Dallas Cowboys, he probably should. But, if Jason Garrett and Scott Linehan want to continue to use the jet sweep to the offense's maximum benefit, they need to start showing it with Deonte Thompson. He has the speed to get to the corner and take it to the end zone from any where on the field.
Here's an example of what Thompson can do with the ball in his hands.
109 YARDS TO THE HOUSE!!! Deonte Thompson returns the missed field goal and runs it all the way back for a @ChicagoBears TD! #CHIvsAZ https://t.co/k9IfkZMoIY
With Tavon Austin set to be out -- possibly for the season -- it's time to see what Deonte Thompson can do. The Dallas Cowboys need to get a win here to get above .500 for the first time this season and set themselves up to make a run at the divisional crown. Deonte Thompson's ability with the ball in his hands will give them a good opportunity to do just that.
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