One of the big questions of the upcoming NFL season is what will happen with Tony Romo. After sitting out the beginning of the season with an injury, the Cowboys saw rookie Dak Prescott take the reins of the offense and with the help of the best O-line and top running back in football, Prescott lead the Cowboys to the best record in the NFL. By the time Romo was cleared to return, Dak had established himself as the starter and gave the Cowboys no reason to hand things back to the old guy. Now that Prescott looks like the future QB of the Cowboys, Tony Romo is starting to look expensive and expendable. With a $20 million salary, the Cowboys could use the space cap space to fill some needs on the defense. Based on his track record, and the fact that he still might be among the top QBs in the league, Romo should be a big target for the many QB-hungry teams out there. These are 8 teams that could definitely be looking to get into the Romo sweepstakes and 7 others that would probably think he is not worth the hassle.
16 Want: Houston Texans
Despite having one of the worst quarterbacks of the modern era behind center, and then benching him for a backup, who then got injured forcing the first guy to play in two playoff games, the Houston Texans were still carried by their defense to a tough showing in the second round of the playoffs. With the number one rated defense that will be getting back the best defensive player alive next year in J.J. Watt, this team may not need a quarterback to get to the AFC Championship game next year. But they probably will need one if they somehow make it that far and go up against a Tom Brady, Derek Carr, Andrew Luck, or Ben Roethlisberger. All they need is someone average, or at least competent, or someone that can throw the ball somewhat close to a teammate, and the Texans will be a threat next year. That means if they can get Tony Romo, they could instantly be a Super Bowl contender.
15 Stay Away: Los Angeles Rams
The Rams are yet another team with a potentially fearsome defense but in need of an offense to become a complete team. If Romo was added to the equation he could probably help the Rams chase a playoff spot. But as everyone knows, the Rams actually do have a quarterback. He did not really play at all this year but he was chosen with the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft so he should be the Rams QB of the future. Really, he should be their QB of the present. Although adding Romo might seem like a good idea, the Rams do not want to bring him on for two reasons. The first is that any confidence problems that Goff may have from being left on the bench all year might be exacerbated by then having to sit behind Romo next year. The second is that if Romo plays well and lasts a while, Goff’s development might even stagnate as he sees no action. The fact is, they have Goff, and they need to figure out what he can be, which means they do not want Romo.
14 Want: Denver Broncos
The Broncos wrote the template for how to win big in 2015 with a veteran QB who may be on his last legs but who can still provide enough stability and scoring to the offense to ride a great defense all the way to the Super Bowl. Lead by Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware and a stacked secondary, the Broncos simply needed occasional halfway decent work from their veteran QB Peyton Manning to reach the Super Bowl. It was definitely Manning’s last gasp but despite his struggles the wily veteran was able to come up when it mattered to help the Broncos win it all. Romo should be in a little better shape than Manning was and would probably last a few years to boot. So if the Broncos can get their hands on him, along with Von Miller and their Super Bowl caliber defense, they should be right back in the hunt for a chance to get back to the big game.
13 Stay Away: Oakland Raiders
The Oakland Raiders definitely need a backup quarterback as we saw when their great season was followed by their quick exit from the playoffs when they had to use Matt McGloin and Connor Cook after Derek Carr broke his leg at the end of the regular season. It also cannot be denied that Tony Romo would LOVE to sit behind that offensive line and throw the ball to Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree all day. Now we know the Raiders need a backup better than McGloin and Cook, but Romo might be swinging the pendulum a little more towards too good for their needs. As long as Derek Carr is recovered and protected, they just need a good veteran, not a great one, and not a starter quality guy. Simply someone who will not self destruct if they have to enter a playoff game. So save some money, grab a veteran who is a real backup, and don’t go after Romo.
12 Want: Buffalo Bills
Although they have Tyrod Taylor who had a decent year, the Buffalo Bills look like they are planning on moving on from him. That means the Bills will be looking for a new quarterback very soon. Like the other teams who would love to have Romo, the Bills have a defense that should be able to carry them to a certain point. Although the defense was not great last year, the talent available, along with a new coaching staff, should insure the defense returns to its recent lofty heights. The offense has not lacked for weapons lately either, it has just not been as effective at using them. If you throw Tony Romo into the mix, look for wide receiver Sammy Watkins to explode into the elite tier of receivers in the NFL. And if the Romo-Watkins connection becomes what it could, you can bet that running back LeSean McCoy will exploit the extra space he has in the backfield for huge gains. A Romo-lead offense and an improved defense spell a threat to the Patriots in the AFC East.
11 Stay Away: Green Bay Packers
Everyone loves when the local boy who done good returns home as a big success, so why wouldn’t the Packers welcome Tony Romo back to Wisconsin? The kid that grew up in Burlington, Wisconsin probably dreamed of being a Packer when he was a kid. Sure he would just be a backup, but with Romo on the bench, the Packers could pull Rodgers from games much sooner than normal to keep him healthy. But then again, do the Pack really need two QBs on the roster making $20 million per year? And if Romo’s injury bug starts to infect Rodgers, that would be a disaster of epic proportions. No, the Packers need to keep Romo as far away as possible. If Romo wants to come see a game at Lambeau, that should be fine, but Rodgers has got this under control so you can all R-E-L-A-X.
10 Want: San Francisco 49ers
One of the worst teams in the NFL, the San Francisco 49ers, are without a coach, a GM, will probably need a quarterback, and the rest of their team is also fairly mediocre. They need everything. When you need everything, a QB is sometimes a luxury along the lines of living in a trailer park and driving a Mercedes Benz. On the other hand if you have the QB (or the Benz) everyone else might start looking at you a little differently and you may feel better about yourself as well. And then who knows, you might start performing at a higher level than you thought you could and before you know it you are doing okay. Sort of a fake it ‘til you make it strategy. That seems like reason enough for the 49ers to want Romo. Get themselves set at QB and it should make them look respectable and before you know it, they could be right back in the playoff hunt.
9 Stay Away: New England Patriots
Bill Belichick is always making unconventional moves that surprise and shock the league which usually work out extremely well for the Patriots. If the Pats decide to move Jimmy Garoppolo they will once again need a backup in case Brady ever decides to screw around with air pressure in the footballs again. The fact is the Patriots have done very well with one guy that came in and replaced Drew Bledsoe and never relinquished his job in Tom Brady. Perhaps they could do the same with another QB who came in and replaced Drew Bledsoe in Dallas and never relinquished the job again. But in reality, it is not really Belichick’s style to grab someone who might be nearing the end. It is much more up his alley to dump someone a year and a half before they really fall off the cliff.
8 Want: Cleveland Browns
It seems like the Cleveland Browns have been drafting quarterback after quarterback who all ended up as busts for the past 20 years... And hey, look at this, it turns out they have actually been doing just that for the past 20 years, well, 18 I guess, but geez that is depressing! Okay so after literally drafting quarterbacks who ended up busts for the past 18 years, maybe the Browns need to consider some new strategy to get their hands on a QB. They have been compiling picks for a while so maybe some of those could come in handy and they could use them to engineer a trade for Tony Romo. The best part about it would be they would not have to worry about throwing away their next three first round draft picks on QBs who are off the team or out of the NFL before anyone realizes it. It is probably worth a shot, even though once he joins the Browns Romo may magically lose any ability to throw a football.
7 Stay Away: Cincinnati Bengals
There are a few teams that do have a decent quarterback but if they were being perfectly frank, they would probably agree that Tony Romo would be an upgrade. Even an older, slightly lower quality Romo than the one we have seen for the past decade. One of those teams is the Cincinnati Bengals. They like Andy Dalton, but wouldn’t Tony Romo provide a bit more consistency, a bit of a higher ceiling, and a bit more excitement? The main advantage Dalton has on Romo is his age, but as an overall QB, prime Romo roasts prime Dalton in most categories. Nevertheless, the Bengals have put together an offense with Dalton at its head that has performed very well for a number of years. Even if Romo could give it a little jolt, the value of continuity would outweigh any value of adding a new QB right now.
6 Want: Chicago Bears
With Jay Cutler’s career in Chicago, probably coming to a merciful end soon, the Bears will be looking for a legitimate starting quarterback this coming offseason. The Bears do not have the solid defenses as some of the other teams hoping to get their hands on Romo. As a matter of fact the Bears do not have much of anything and are among the worst teams in the league. If they had an opportunity to land Romo however that would make their rebuilding project that much easier. If they could avoid having to worry about a quarterback this year they could begin building their future with their high draft pick and perhaps a key free agent signing or two. Then they could continue to improve and add talent to their team for as long as Romo could provide stability behind center.
5 Stay Away: Washington Redskins
Would the Redskins want Tony Romo? He has beaten them enough times that they would probably be happy to avoid playing him twice a year. But they already have a QB that they like... they think. With Kirk Cousins in the fold, whether with a new contract or on the franchise tag, Romo would simply be an expensive backup, and probably an expensive distraction as well. If Washington does sign Cousins to a long term deal it will be pretty expensive. To have two big money QBs at once will cost them the ability to pay talent everywhere else. If they franchise Cousins his cap hit will probably be even more this year which would make a Romo addition even more expensive. Ultimately the Redskins would love to see him leave Dallas so they can avoid him in the future, but certainly do not want him to come to them.
4 Want: New York Jets
When it comes to teams that could really use Tony Romo, the Jets are like a slightly more pathetic version of the Buffalo Bills. They have the talent to be a formidable defense, and theirs was better than the Bills this season in some categories. With some guidance and adjustments in the offseason they should be able to improve it as well. The offense is a bit more of a crap-shoot however with some young talent, but no go-to weapons like the Bills or some of the other teams in the Romo sweepstakes. Brandon Marshall would be a great target if he sticks around and if Eric Decker and Matt Forte return from injury the Jets have the makings of a solid offense with Romo in the driver’s seat.
3 Stay Away: Indianapolis Colts
If the Indianapolis Colts even think about pursuing Tony Romo they should fire their GM immediately. Actually, they should probably do that anyway. The only thing that the Colts have is an elite quarterback. They have a no offensive line, their running back is good but probably over the hill, their lone receiver's production would be minimal without Andrew Luck throwing to him, they have no pass rush, their secondary is porous, the coach seems to be out of ideas, and as mentioned before, the GM needs to be fired. If the Colts tried to acquire Romo they would need to give up players, draft picks, and/or cap space. All things that they should not be exchanging for anything other than tools to help Luck.
2 Want: Dallas Cowboys
One team that might really want Tony Romo on their team next year is the Dallas Cowboys. Sure $20+ million dollars is a lot for a backup QB. And we know he could get a lot of return on the trade market, but you still have a young QB in Dak Prescott who has had a relatively easy rookie year in the league with an All-Pro offensive line in front of him, a superstar running back behind him, and an exceptionally talented receiver out wide. You have to be concerned if any of those pieces do not perform up to their 2016 level how it could affect Prescott’s performance. But with Tony Romo sitting in the wings, offering sage advice, and staying ready, if anything goes wrong, you have a perennial Pro-Bowler waiting to save the day.