As free agency kicked off last Thursday, many expected the Cowboys to get rid of Romo. Nope. The 36 and soon to be 37 year-old is still in Dallas.
Why would the most valuable sports team in the world, worth a staggering four billion dollars, keep a guy that has never even made it to the Super Bowl in 11 years of career, is 2-4 in the playoffs and has lost almost half of all the season games he ever played?
Inappropriate bonds. That’s why. Owner Jerry Jones and Coach Jason Garrett treat him like a son, not a professional.
“Relationships come into play here. I don’t even want to think about Tony Romo leaving the Cowboys”, Jones told ESPN.
He also admitted “I don’t know how ultimately we will resolve this”, on KRLD-AM station in Dallas.
The owner of the richest franchise in the world doesn’t know what to do.Good lord. You can tell feelings are getting involved with business.
“The team we have, especially the offensive side, was built for Tony”, said Jones on radio station 105.3 The Fan. The Dallas Morning News reported how Garrett refused to name a starting QB for next season: “Don’t want to get into those discussions,” he said.
Mike Fisher of 105.3 The Fan tweeted that Garrett’s decision to decline naming a starter “is a bow to Romo, not an open-competition hint.”
How could you even hesitate when you just drafted Dak Prescott, a QB that at only 23 years of age won 13 games out of 16 and broke the record for most consecutive pass attempts without an interception to start a career?
Brady, this year’s Super Bowl winner and arguably the greatest QB of all times, held the record at 162 attempts in the remote 2001.
First year QBs are known to struggle with interceptions. Not him. Prescott, who stepped in after Romo’s back injury before the season, finished the year with a 104.9 passer rating, the highest by a rookie in NFL history.
He proved he can do it. With him, the team had their best year since 1996. What about Romo? In 2010 the Cowboys had a bad 6-10 record for the season, then three straight 8-8 years and a disastrous 4-12 in 2015. The only exception was a 12-4 in 2014 where they still didn’t go far in the playoffs.
If you’re thinking well, the Cowboys are loaded with cash and can afford to keep Romo, think again. In 2013 he signed a 6 year, $108,000,000 contract, which includes a $25,000,000 signing bonus, $55,000,000 guaranteed and an average annual salary of $18,000,000.
While it is true that having him would not go over the cap limit on salaries, a release or trade would allow to spend more on and boost the defensive side, where this team needs to improve the most.
This doesn’t mean Romo is a bad quarterback however. He’s a four time Pro Bowler, he has 25 fourth quarter comebacks and 30 game-winning drives. He’s got the most passing yards in Cowboys’ history, having passed more than 3,400 yards in seven seasons and four with more than 4,000.
Let’s not forget 248 touchdown passes and the fact that throughout his career, he maintained a quality 97.1 passer rating.
“Romo has done enough in his career to be considered a Cowboys legend in the eyes of many”, wrote columnist Scott Polacek on the Bleacher Report.
Jerry Jones truly believes in him: “We saw a guy [Tom Brady] several years older than him win a Super Bowl. I think he’s that kind of player”.
You could make the case that Prescott has been successful thanks to an amazing offensive line protecting him.
It would make sense, as running back Ezekiel Elliot, a rookie too, finished the season as the NFL’s top rusher with 1,631 yards. Not to take away from Elliot’s phenomenal talent, but the work those big men do upfront is often underrated.
One could assert, fairly, that if Romo was healthy he could’ve led the team as well, if not better than Prescott. He’s got more experience. But he was not.
What does this mean then? It means Romo is “not a very good quarterback”, as legendary QB Joe Theismann said. He’s not bad. He’s just better than average. He’s certainly not a winner, he’s old and injury prone.
Jones says Brady was several years older, but three years doesn’t sound like several.
The window has closed for him in Dallas. It’s clear that the starting quarterback should be Prescott. If that doesn’t happen, it’s a disgrace in the name of competition.