By Mark Lane (@therealmarklane)
FRISCO — Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo expects to be released by the club when free agency starts on March 9 rather than the club to seek a trade, according to ESPN’s Ed Werder.
Source says Tony Romo expecting release, not trade, and believes he can start as #NFL QB 2-3 more seasons despite turning 37, injury history
— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) February 16, 2017
Whether trade or released, the Cowboys would have to eat $19.6 million in dead money. If Dallas were to designate Romo a post June 1 cut, he would count $19.6 million still, but the Cowboys could spread the cap hit out over two seasons with $12.7 million counting against the cap in 2017 and then $6.9 million in 2018.
The issue with trading Romo is the agreeing team would want to restructure his contract. Currently, Romo is set to make $24.7 million in 2017 under his present contract signed in the 2013 off-season, a six-year, $108 million deal. Having only thrown 125 passes since Opening Day 2015, fragility is the first word associated with the soon-to-be 37-year-old rather than stability under center. No team will want to take on that contract.
So then if Romo and a team agree on each other, why then would the interested team shell out draft picks when they could wait for the Cowboys to release Romo? This was the same situation the Indianapolis Colts found themselves with Peyton Manning in the 2012 off-season. Teams knew the Colts were going to use the number one overall pick in the draft to select Andrew Luck and move on from Manning. Therefore, why waste draft picks when the 35-year-old will still want to play and choose your team when he is a free agent?
Like Manning in the 2012 off-season, Romo faces the same questions surrounding his durability. Manning spent all of 2011 rehabilitating from a neck surgery in the off-season, whereas Romo has missed 2015-16 with two broken collarbones and a broken back, a combined 27 games.
Also paralleling Manning, one of the teams interested in Romo is Denver. The Broncos have inexperience at quarterback with Trevor Siemian having completed his second professional year and first ever under center. Backing him up his first-rounder from 2016, Paxton Lynch. Meanwhile, the Broncos have the makings of a deep postseason run a year removed from a victory in Super Bowl 50 and a 10-6 campaign in 2016. All that is missing is a leader at quarterback.
Other interested teams are the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs. Both squads already have franchise-type signal callers with money attached in Brock Osweiler and Alex Smith respectively. A healthy Romo would be an upgrade for those teams who both flamed out in the divisional round of the AFC Playoffs this season.