The Quest for Tony Romo
NFL Free Agency begins on Thursday, and there's a lot happening between now and then. The legal tampering period begins on Tuesday, and we'll know even more then. But it seems the biggest prize out there right now might be Tony Romo, and the Broncos seem to be the top suitor.
But is it a good idea? Can it work. Let's look at the pros and cons.
* Tony Romo is better than what the Broncos have now. Sure, Trevor Siemian had a decent season, but he's not a seasoned pro. The Broncos feel like they have all the pieces to win a Super Bowl now, and the key parts are there from a Super Bowl 50 win. The biggest difference last year was no Peyton Manning, a veteran quarterback who could give the offense the little edge it was missing.
* It's worked before. John Elway was the oldest quarterback to win a Super Bowl... until Peyton Manning did it in Super Bowl 50. The connection? Both were Broncos. And Elway is the one that recruited Manning and saw what it could mean, and his gambit paid off. He wants to strike gold again.
* There's increased competition in the AFC, and Romo balances the equation. The Broncos saw a string of six straight AFC West titles snapped last season, when they finished third. The Chiefs, Raiders and Chargers all have gifted, veteran signal callers. Romo could help put the Broncos on an even playing field in that respect.
* Romo isn't healthy. In the last two seasons, Romo has broken his collar bone twice and his back once. He hasn't played a real meaningful snap in over a season, and he has an injury history that suggests that, at 37, he isn't a good candidate to make it through the season.
* The Broncos' line won't do him any favors. Romo's injuries mentioned above, well that happened behind arguably the NFL's best offensive line. Denver's isn't even close. With an injury-prone passer, that's a huge liability. Look at what happened to Siemian last season.
* He isn't worth the opportunity cost. Even if released, it's hard to imagine Romo takes less than $5 million. The Broncos have $40 million in cap space, but they have many other needs. We need offensive linemen, defensive lineman, a kick returner and a playmaker or two on offense. That will eat cap space quickly. The sunk cost of Romo might keep the Broncos from addressing those other needs.
The bottom line: Sure, I see some of the appeal, but I don't think it's worth it. Romo is injury-prone, expensive and no Peyton Manning. Manning had a history of winning, both regular season and playoffs, while Romo has never really done anything of note with the Cowboys. And Siemian, or the quarterback position in general, wasn't the Broncos' only problem. Continuing the investment in Siemian and Paxton Lynch while adding a better line and playmakers could be enough for the Broncos. I think that would be the smarter play.