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Brandon Weeden could end up playing a significant role with Dallas Cowboys

Before you scoff at reports that 30-year-old Brandon Weeden has signed a contract with the Dallas Cowboys – two easy targets in one if there ever was one – consider this haunting possibility:

If the Cowboys can part ways with DeMarcus Ware for a bloated contract this offseason, what's to stop them from doing the same next year with Tony Romo and his projected salary-cap number of $27.7 million?

[Be sure to check out Shutdown Corner's NFL free-agent rankings. Click here for the list of offensive players, and click here for the list of defensive and special teams players]

That could mean Weeden is your favorite — as of now — to be the Cowboys' Week 1 starter, circa September 2015. Current Cowboys backup Kyle Orton reportedly has wavered on his decision to come back next season, so that puts Weeden in play to be Romo's backup this season and at least in consideration to start if he does well and Romo is gone. Think about that a minute.

Yes, the Cowboys are mired in a cesspool of bad vibes these days, having shuttled off their entire defensive line and left themselves in a financial vice grip, which has only gotten worse with owner Jerry Jones doling out bad contracts over the years and now having to kick the can down the road even more.

You think the Cowboys' cap situation has been bad this year, leaving them unable to sign much incoming talent? Wait until next year.

Weeden is the first big name to come on board, and in a perfect world, he won't play a snap in 2014. The hope, however unlikely, is that Romo can make it through the season healthy after his second back surgery in as many years. That's why they paid him the big bucks, and a big Romo season might be the only thing keeping the Cowboys from a crash in '14.

But Weeden not only must be on ready alert this coming season, but as we mentioned above, he really could be in the picture for 2015. This was a smart landing spot for player and team, and Weeden has a chance to save his career, which went badly off course with the Cleveland Browns.

The former 22nd overall pick has talent and smarts, and it could be cultivated if the Cowboys put him in a position to succeed without the unreal expectations of being a savior. Don't laugh — this signing could end up having a big effect on the Cowboys this season and next.

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

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