Tony Romo is a great quarterback that should get a chance to be a starter when the 2017 season begins in September. However, for which team that will be is a million dollar question that has yet to be answered.
Or, to be frank, a $24.7 million dollar question.
That figure is what he will make under his current contract. According to Spotrac, the dollar amount will be Romo’s cap hit when the 2017 season starts. Then, the numbers go up to $25.2 and back down to $23.7 million the following years. For the Cowboys to continue to honor that contract, that would mean they would be letting their backup eat a significant portion of their salary cap.
However, they could find a way to move him, freeing up all of that cap space, and use it on fixing a secondary that let Aaron Rodgers throw all over them in their Divisional Round playoff loss. If they can find a trade partner, then Romo’s contract is completely absolved. Although, John Clayton thinks that “it’s more likely that the Cowboys end up releasing Romo than trading him this offseason — if they can’t convince him to take a pay cut.”
If the Cowboys do release Romo that would mean that the team would still be on the hook for his “dead cap” money would be $19.6 million for next year, followed by $8.9 and $3.2 million over the last two seasons. How the Cowboys will be on the hook for those numbers are all determined on when they release him.
If it’s after June 1st, when the league’s CBA mandated deadline is, “the team gets the benefit of being able to spread the Salary Cap hit – or dead money – over two years. When a player is released after June 1, the team is again relieved of paying that player’s base salary for the year in which he is released (and all future years) and the only amount that counts against the team’s Cap in that year is the player’s bonus proration for that year. The remaining unaccounted-for bonus pro-rations accelerate against the Cap in the following year.” (Russell Street Report)
So if Romo doesn’t take a pay-cut where does the eight-figure backup go?
The odds on favorite for the veteran quarterback to play next season is with the Denver Broncos. Emmanuel Sanders said in his press conference that he would be glad to see Romo play in Denver next season saying, “In John Elway I trust. And if he does bring him over I think Tony Romo will fit good in McCoy’s system. I mean it’s a no-huddle, uptempo offense. I think it’s going to be similar to the Cowboys,” (The Denver Channel)
He then did smooth over his comment saying that current Denver quarterbacks Paxton Lynch, and Trevor Siemian would do just as well. However, we saw a 16 game sample size of what their offense looks like with those two at the helm of their offense and it resulted in an 8-8 record and no playoffs.
Another landing spot for Romo may be just down the road from AT&T Stadium at NRG Stadium in Houston, TX. However, the Texans have little to no cap room to add him, if they’d just move draft picks.
Or, they could move none other than J.J. Watt for Romo. Something that Hall of Fame member, and former Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Chris Carter suggested “I’d try to pull off a deal for J.J. Watt,” Carter said during an appearance on “Undisputed” this week. “That’s what I would try to do. That would be the deal that I’d be going for with Jerry. I’d try to get J.J. Watt.” (CBS Sports)
If Houston and Dallas would pull of a mega trade like this it would be a clear shot to the NFL landscape that each team feels like they are one piece away from making Super Bowl 52.
The Romo sweepstake will be something that will keep people glued to their televisions, or phones, or social media networks during the offseason. If he stays in Dallas it will be unnerving for Dak Prescott having him loom over his shoulder. However, if he’s traded, it will launch that new club into the stratosphere as a conference champion favorite.
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