By: Cory Vest
On March 9th, Tony Romo said goodbye to Cowboy fans in a heartfelt and emotional video. Romo went down before the 2016 season even started due to a compression fracture. Little did Romo know, that would be the last time he would take the field for the Dallas Cowboys. In stepped Dak Prescott who led the team to a 13-3 record and won offensive rookie of the year. After Prescott’s success, it was out with the old and in with the new for America’s team.
Although Romo still remains on the Cowboys’ roster, it is only a matter of time before he trades in the iconic blue star for a different logo. Jerry Jones has told the media that a decision on the matter is going to be made before training camp. As of now, the Houston Texans and the Broncos of Denver, are the top two teams expected to make a run at the aging and often injured quarterback.
With Romo still being under contract with the Cowboys however, he is hard to find enticing. The Cowboys are currently staring at a $24.7 million contract for a quarterback that they do not plan to start. Teams interested in Romo have no interest in trading for him or the hefty contract he carries. A good old fashioned western standoff has taken place. The Cowboys are hoping for a trade, while interested teams are waiting for the release of Romo. The Cowboys can’t afford not to blink first.
Once released, the Texans appear to be the likeliest of landing spots for the 36-year old quarterback. The Texans parted ways with Brock Osweiler this offseason, leaving them with Tom Savage and Brandon Weeden as their current quarterback options. The Broncos have been said to have interest in Romo, although John Elway has stated that they are content moving forward with Tervor Siemian and Paxton Lynch. Wherever Romo ends up, the team’s depth chart better have a QB2 who is ready to take the reins at any given snap. That is assuming Romo is brought in to be the starter.
Over the past two seasons, Romo has played a total of five games. Romo has not played a full sixteen game season since 2012. In nine seasons as the Cowboys starter, Romo has only four full sixteen game seasons under his belt. After fourteen years in the league, Romo has sustained numerous injuries. In 2008, Romo broke his right pinkie finger which caused him to miss three games. Two seasons later, in 2010, Romo broke his left collarbone leading to a ten-game absence. Romo then ruptured a disk causing him to miss the last game of the 2013 season. In 2014, Romo suffered two transverse process fractures. 2015 was a rough go for Romo and his previously broken left collarbone after he broke it during the second game of the season. The injury held him out of seven games. Romo then returned only to rebreak his left collarbone causing him to miss the final five games of the season. The very next season, 2016, Romo suffered a compression fracture of the L1 vertebra leading to him missing the entire season.
Now that the laundry list of injuries is out of the way let’s focus on how good Romo is when healthy. Romo’s career stats are as follows; 65.3% completion rate which has led to 34,183 yards, good for 219.1 yards per game with an average of 7.9 yards per attempt. Romo has amassed 248 touchdowns while throwing 117 interceptions. Romo has a 97.1 quarterback rating. Those stats are all fine and dandy but are they impressive enough to overcome his age and proneness to injury?
Here’s a little more to think about when considering whether or not Romo is worthy of a starting nod. In 2014, Romo played in fifteen games leading to a 12-4 record for the Cowboys. The ‘boys went to the playoffs as a wild card team, but lost their second playoff game to the Packers. A 12-4 record and an appearance in the NFC divisional round playoff ain’t too shabby. What about the season prior, or the one before that, or heck even the one, before the one, before that. Confused yet? I’ll simplify. In the 2013, 2012, and 2011 seasons, Romo only missed a total of one game. The Cowboys’ record for those seasons? 8-8, 8-8, and wouldn’t you know it 8-8. Quite literally, just an average joe.
Romo’s greatest stretch of success came early on in his career when the Cowboys made it to the playoffs in 2006, where they lost in the wild card game; in 2007, where they lost their first playoff game in the divisional round; and again in 2009 where they lost yet another divisional round game. To recap, Romo hasn’t had a stretch of triumphant accomplishment in seven seasons, and even then, he’s never made it past the divisional round.
So, yes, or no, on Romo? Skepticism of possible success is definitely warranted. Of course, if a team doesn’t pull the trigger on the ex-Cowboy, there is always room for him in a broadcast booth. According to Ian Rapoport, both CBS and FOX would be more than willing to hire Romo as a football analyst. With Romo set to turn 37 on April 21st, a position in the booth wouldn’t be a bad way to go. The pay is still good, he’d still be involved in the game of football, and the risk of injury is slim to none.