With the 2016 season in the rear-view mirror and the Dallas Cowboys poised once again to be one of the NFL’s top teams, the most important story in the NFL this offseason might just be what to do with a certain jobless Dallas quarterback.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is in a peculiar position, holding a valuable bargaining chip in Tony Romo who also happens to be a friend as well as a useful backup plan. He’s punted on the question of what to do with Romo on several occasions, but is now acknowledging just what a dicey situation the Cowboys are in.
“The team we have, especially the offensive side of the ball, was built for Tony. So this is what it is. It’s a juncture that we have to address,” he said during a radio segment on Dallas’s Ben & Skin Show (local radio is just the best, by the way). “I don’t know how ultimately we will resolve this. Nobody should be alarmed because you don’t have all the answers. There are some issues here that you just got to see how the cards are played. But we’ll work through this. We have a sound enough foundation together that on an individual basis we’ll get through this.”
He’s not wrong; Dallas is one of the strongest, youngest teams in the league, good enough that our own Frank Schwab ranked them second behind you-know-who in the way-too-early 2017 power rankings. Dak Prescott essentially threw Romo out of a job by being arguably the greatest rookie quarterback in NFL history. But the Cowboys are dealing from both strength and weakness: strength because of Romo’s value, weakness because other teams know Dallas won’t just keep Romo around as a high-priced backup.
Romo ranks as the Cowboys’ leader in passing yards, passing touchdowns, passer rating, and completion percentage, among other honors. But those stats have come at a price: specifically, $24.7 million, the cap hit he’ll carry in 2017, highest in the league for a quarterback.
As the Fort Worth Star-Telegram notes, Dallas could cut or trade Romo prior to June 1 and save $5.1 million in cap space. Or the team could wait until after June 1 to cut him, and split the cap hit over two years.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.