With the Cowboys riding high at 12-2, we should be enjoying each game and stop to smell the roses. But after stopping and smelling for awhile, some of us can’t help but think of the future beyond the 2016-17 season. One of those thoughts is wondering where will Tony Romo play in 2017, and what could Dallas get in return?
The path for Romo could be as simple as a release from the Cowboys or staying with the Cowboys, but here we can explore some of the more bold possibilities as unlikely as they may be.
Commentators have suggested that a second round pick, possibly a third, would be reasonable compensation for Romo, which matches what I estimated could be obtained. A draft pick is the most likely form compensation to be obtained, but below are some interesting player for player trade scenarios however unlikely they may be.
The most likely place for Romo to play next season in Denver. An argument could certainly be made that Denver has the best team in the league if you don’t consider quarterbacks. Adding Romo to the roster could turn them into a strong Super Bowl contender, and members of the Broncos have some ties to Romo. Wade Phillips coached Romo for several years and is now Denver’s defensive coordinator. Demarcus Ware was Romo’s teammate for many years. A trade to Denver would keep Romo out of the conference and treat Romo well by trading him to a contender. It has been reported that Romo was already eyeing a move to Denver after Prescott was names the starter.
A Romo for Paxton Lynch trade would be interesting. Lynch was highly ranked by the Cowboys in this year’s draft. Maybe Denver would consider Trevor Simien to be an adequate backup to Romo and is more focused on winning in 2017 than worrying about the future. Lynch could fill the backup quarterback spot for Dallas, and Dallas could be an ideal spot for Lynch to develop and showcase his talent. He wouldn’t be rushed into being a starting quarterback before he was ready, and any playing time he got would be with a stellar supporting cast. If he was able to put in some good showings, whether due to a Prescott injury or only during preseason games, a few seasons from now he could bring in a nice haul in a trade to a team desperate for a quarterback. Prescott has already proven that he can be effective with a highly capable backup, so the presence of Lynch shouldn’t be an issue. And if Prescott’s play would happen to decline, Lynch could be needed.
The New York Jets are another team that could be interested in Romo. Sheldon Richardson is another player that Dallas coveted during a previous draft, and he would be an ideal scheme fit. Next season he will be entering a contract year and will earn $8 million, which would make taking on Romo’s salary only a $6 million net cap hit for the Jets. Dallas could bolster its pass rush with a proven and hungry player that could be resigned or could net a nice compensatory draft pick.
Houston would have to figure out what to do with Brock Osweiler and his huge guaranteed money due next season. Otherwise, it would be a great match. There isn’t a player on the Texans I would consider a good fit for a trade. Jadeveon Clowney is a pass rusher with great potential, but his lackadaisical nature may not be a fit with Marinelli. Houston also may be hesitant to deal away the former #1 overall pick so soon without significant compensation.
Jacksonville would likely go with a young quarterback hand picked by the team’s new coach, but what if that coach ended up being Scott Linehan? Asking for Allen Robinson in return would be a bit much. Maybe Myles Jack? Adding Robinson would make a great offense even better. A linebacker core of Sean Lee, Jaylon Smith, and Myles Jack would be the league’s most talented.
Buffalo needs to make a decision early in the off-season on whether or not to pony up a huge amount of guaranteed money to keep Tyrod Taylor or let him go. Romo could come in at half of the money that would be needed to keep Taylor without the burden of additional guaranteed money, and Rex Ryan seems like someone who could push for a win-now move to save his job.
Chicago is unlikely to bring Jay Cutler back. Brian Hoyer could be brought back and slotted the for the starting role, but adding Romo could be enticing. Defensive end Willie Young would be a nice target in a trade. He has two years left on his deal ($1 million for 2017 and $3.5 million for 2018) and could be expendable with Chicago adding pass rusher Leonard Floyd early in this year’s draft and having Pernell McPhee under contract for the next three seasons.
Minnesota would be a good landing spot for Romo if the team is able to fix the offensive line issues that were mostly injury induced. However, Dallas could be leery of dealing Romo to a strong NFC contender. Trae Waynes could be a target in Minnesota. Waynes was the 11th overall pick in the 2015 draft, but is currently the #4 corner in Minnesota due to subpar play and the depth Minnesota has at the position. With Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr being free agents after this season, Waynes could be useful and has intriguing upside.
Let’s hear your wild and crazy ideas in the comments section.