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.
Where Does Dak Prescott Rank Among NFL Quarterbacks?
The quarterback position is one of the most difficult positions to evaluate in the NFL. As hard as it can be for a quarterback to understand and execute an offense against a defense that is trying to keep them off balance, it can be equally difficult to try and determine where each quarterback ranks compared to his peers.
Last week, The Sporting News attempted to do just that with their 2019 Quarterback Rankings. It's a pretty good list, and I highly recommend checking it out.
This was the criteria for how Vinnie Iyer,
"These rankings are based on how each QB performed last season and the upside of how each might perform in 2019. No matter how many Super Bowl rings or MVP awards a QB has won, or the number of efficient passing seasons he has posted in the past, history is a small part of the equation. We thought about where each QB ended up last season in terms of effectiveness, production and durability, and then we thought even more about how his talent and offensive support set him up for success (or lack thereof) this season."
Vinnie Iyer - The Sporting News
Dak Prescott came in at number 14 on the list, three spots behind NFC East counterpart Carson Wentz.
Here's what NFL Analyst Vinnie Iyer had to say:
"Prescott dazzled as a rookie in 2016 and slumped as a sophomore in 2017. Last season, he was closer to his rookie form in a year that largely landed between both extremes. Prescott got hot in the second half of the season once he clicked with new No. 1 wideout Amari Cooper, creating a trickle-down effect that should continue with more legitimate overall weapons in 2019."
Vinnie Iyer - The Sporting News
While these lists are rather subjective and it can be a difficult task, I think Vinnie's pretty close on where Dak Prescott sits in the NFL at this point in his career.
It's hard to argue with his top five. Each could have an argument for being the best quarterback in the NFL. Patrick Mahomes just won the NFL MVP, Tom Brady has won all the Super Bowls, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers put up ridiculous numbers year in and year out, and Russell Wilson was just made the highest paid player in NFL history.
While I think Dak probably sits in the 9-15 range, here are the five quarterbacks ranked ahead or Prescott.
9. Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
10. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
11. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
12. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
13. DeShaun Watson, Houston Texans
I feel there's an argument to be made that Prescott is a few spots to low.
As an avid Oklahoma Sooners homer, I find it a bit presumptuous to have Baker Mayfield as one of the 10 best quarterbacks in the NFL. Mostly because he's only played 14 games at this point in his NFL career. Mayfield had a tremendous rookie season and has given Cleveland Browns fans hope that the franchise is finally headed in the right direction. As much as I love Baker Mayfield and think he's going to be a great NFL quarterback, it's hard for me to put him in the top 10 at this point in his career.
Ben Roethlisberger is easily a top 10 quarterback. He has skins on the wall and over the last several seasons has been a prolific passer in the NFL. Some of the games he plays in the offseason talking about retirement aren't great, but it's hard to argue he hasn't had a borderline Hall of Fame career.
The most difficult argument I think comes when you compare Dak Prescott and DeShaun Watson. The two seem to be on similar career trajectories at this point.
Watson has a better passer rating, a slightly better completion percentage and has more total touchdowns per game than Dak Prescott for his career. If Watson had played as many games as Dak Prescott to this point, at his current touchdown rate, he'd have 108 total touchdowns. 23 more than Dak Prescott.
The two that I have the biggest issue with on this list are the two he gets compared to the most because they were taken first and second overall in the same draft that Dak Prescott was taken in the fourth round; Jared Goff and Carson Wentz.
Dak Prescott's thrown for near as many touchdowns as Carson Wentz, who leads the three, but if you consider how many touchdowns Prescott's rushed for in his career, he sits 13 total touchdowns ahead of Wentz and 16 total touchdowns more than Jared Goff. Dak Prescott has a better career passer rating than both of those quarterbacks and is right there in yards per attempt with both guys.
Dak Prescott can claim more team success than Carson Wentz. One could argue that Jared Goff didn't play his best on the way to representing the NFC in the most recent Super Bowl. Dak Prescott has started every game of his NFL career while Carson Wentz has missed eight games due to season-ending injuries each of the last two seasons. Durability is a huge issue for Wentz at this point. I'd rather have the guy who you know will be on the field.
If I were going to rerank Dak Prescott with the five quarterbacks ranked directly ahead of him, I'd go:
9. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
10. DeShaun Watson, Houston Texans
11. Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
12. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
13. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
14. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
Of course, this is my attempt to be as unbiased as possible and would completely understand if you wanted to rank them differently. There's no perfect way to rank players in the NFL and I applaud the Sporting News guys for giving it this effort. I can see arguments for Ben Roethlisberger, Baker Mayfield, and DeShaun Watson ahead of Dak Prescott, but that's as far as I'm willing to go.
Dak Prescott is a top 12 quarterback in the NFL and an ascending player in this league.
If you were going to rank the six quarterbacks listed above, how would you rank them? Let us know in the comment section.
Dallas Cowboys Should Pursue Recently Released DT Gerald McCoy
The Dallas Cowboys have been reinforcing their defensive interior all offseason and look to be in a good position as they get ready to begin offseason training activities and minicamp. Yesterday, I wrote about the possibility of trading for New York Jets Defensive Tackle Leonard Williams. Another defensive tackle has now become available, long-time Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defensive Tackle Gerald McCoy.
Per a report from Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, the Bucs are going to release McCoy after nine seasons with the club.
BREAKING: DT Gerald McCoy has been informed by the Bucs of their plans to release him after nine seasons. The team decided not to pay him the $13-million salary he was owed for 2019.
McCoy is the definition of a cap casualty as he was set to make $13 million on the cap this year. At age 30 in 2018, McCoy still had six sacks as the Buccaneers 3-technique defensive tackle.
Throughout his career, he's been one of the more productive defensive tackles in the league. From 2012 to 2017 he was selected to the Pro Bowl six times and was a first-team All-Pro selection in 2013.
Since 2012, McCoy's averaged 7.2 sacks, 36.8 total tackles, 9.85 tackles for loss, and 17.85 quarterback hits a season. Over the last three seasons, McCoy's averaged just under seven sacks a season. In 2018, he finished with 38 total pressures, which was 19th among all interior defensive linemen. Only Tyrone Crawford from the Cowboys had nearly as many total pressures on the interior with 37.
Though the Cowboys have brought in Christian Covington, Kerry Hyder, and Trysten Hill to fortify a defensive interior with Maliek Collins, Antwaun Woods, and Tyrone Crawford, Gerald McCoy would make an excellent addition to their rotation. Mike Fisher of 247 Sports is reporting that the Cowboys currently have "very little interest" in the defensive tackle.
That's plausible. The Dallas Cowboys have a ton of depth on the defensive line at the moment, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't pursue a talented player such as Gerald McCoy. McCoy has been an excellent 3-tech but also has the size to contribute at 1-tech on passing downs if you need him to.
The Dallas Cowboys defensive line has a ton of depth and it may not make sense to bring in a guy like McCoy, but they should. Much like the trade for Robert Quinn, you're putting your eggs in the 2019 Super Bowl basket and trying to maximize the talent that you have on the roster this year. They're a team primed to make a deep run in January and McCoy can help them do that.
As in everything, it will come down to the price tag. However, given that the Dallas Cowboys currently have just under $20 million available on the 2019 salary cap, they can get a deal done with McCoy and continue working on the long-term contracts for their star core of players.
Gerald McCoy makes the defense better. He's another guy along the defensive line, in addition to DeMarcus Lawrence and Robert Quinn, that the offensive line has to think about. He makes things easier for everyone at every level of the defense and shouldn't cost a ton to sign on a one-year deal.
BREAKING: Ezekiel Elliott Handcuffed After Incident with Security Guard
TMZ has released footage of Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott being handcuffed and escorted by police after an altercation with security at a Las Vegas music festival over the weekend.
Elliott was not arrested and no charges have been filed.
Ezekiel Elliott handcuffed but not charged after incident at Las Vegas music festival https://t.co/NJQ6csGgnv
The video shows Zeke engaged in what appears to be an argument with a female companion. Elliott is seen following her through the crowd, and then security starts to get involved after Zeke moves his body to block her from walking away.
One of the security guards says something that attracts Elliott's attention, causing him to move in closer. The guard falls backward from minimal contact. It as soon after that police get involved.
There isn't much here that would cause trouble for the average player, but that's hardly Elliott's situation. He's one of the most prolific stars in the NFL and already has history with the league for domestic violence and personal conduct issues.
Remember, no charges were filed when the NFL gave Elliott a six-game suspension in 2017 after accusations from an ex-girlfriend of domestic violence.
We will have to wait and see how Roger Goodell chooses to treat this latest issue.
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