There’s a new Sherriff in town for the Dallas Cowboys. The young kid, Dak Prescott a 4th round pick out of Mississippi State, who’s turned the football world on its head.
Entering the draft there were multiple quarterbacks more highly regarded than Prescott; Cal’s Jared Goff, North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz, Paxton Lynch out of Memphis and Michigan’s Connor Cook among many. Many of these rookies have had strong performances thus far, but it’s Prescott who’s risen to the cream of the crop here in mid-November.
Landing in Dallas after the draft immediately ended any hope for the young rookie to have a quiet year learning the playbook and adjusting to the world’s most professional sporting league, the NFL. The following morning after his drafting, Prescott’s name was splashed across every major Texas newspaper; Is Dak Prescott the successor to Tony Romo?
Few could have predicted his meteoric rise since then. In the early weeks of training camp, Prescott was overshadowed by the return of a healthy Tony Romo and Dez Bryant. Dallas’ first round pick, Ezekiel Elliott, also figured heavily in the Cowboys’ media landscape as expectations rose in the lone star state.
Then came Romo’s nasty lower back injury in Seattle, which appeared to shred any hopes for a Cowboys resurgence. With further news of his expected absence for the first half of the season, the young Louisiana native was thrust into the spotlight of arguably the most scrutinized position in American sports, starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys.
After a one-point loss on opening night to fierce divisional rivals, the New York Giants, Prescott and the Cowboys have gone on a tear. As it stands right now, the Cowboys have won 8 games straight, for a league leading record of 8-1. Better still, they actually look like an 8-1 team, with an improved defense, dominant running game and a quarterback who makes plays and doesn’t turn over the football.
With each victory, the clambering and noise for Tony Romo to be returned as starter when he’s fit again has died to almost a whisper. Romo is expected to be active this weekend against Cincinnati, after a year out of the game.
This situation does make one feel sorry for Romo however. As one of the most polarizing athlete in American sports, there’s definitely two clearly defined schools of thought on what kind of quarterback Tony Romo is.
The first argues Romo is an expert choker, a guy who when the pressure is on, wilts and throws interceptions in the 4th quarter like confetti at a wedding reception.
The second ascertains that Romo belongs among the elite quarterbacks of the game, with extraordinary 4th quarter stats and who possesses Tom Brady-like clutch play.
Regardless of these opinions, it’s become increasingly clear that Romo’s footballing future won’t lie in Dallas, barring some poor fortune for young Prescott (crazier things have happened). With the trade deadline passed for the 2016 season, Romo will remain in Cowboy country until at least March and possibly well beyond.
Cowboys’ owner and General Manager, Jerry Jones shares a particularly close relationship with Romo and would prefer to keep him in Dallas. But with Romo holding up such a heavy portion of cap space (particularly if he’s still the backup), an offseason trade appears the most likely scenario.
But where could Romo end up? Jones’ passionate relationship with the man would surely ensure that Romo couldn’t be sent to footballing hell in Cleveland or the Bay Area. The Bears will likely release Jay Cutler come years end, so Chicago could be an option. The Redskins have Kirk Cousins, who’s a middle of the road quarterback, who may chase the money this offseason, but Romo in the nations capital seems a long shot.
The Jets and the Dolphins in the AFC East are still searching for a solution at quarterback. Romo could be a short-term stopgap whilst they look to draft their franchise’s future. The Jacksonville Jaguars have put together a mostly capable football team, with one glaring omission, quarterback. A healthy Tony Romo throwing to the likes of Thomas, Hurns and Robinson would be exciting to say the least. Romo in Texas’ second team would make Houston an automatic Super Bowl contender. But the mess of current starter Brock Osweiler’s contract will likely prevent them making any moves in the offseason in 2017 and beyond.
Two final teams in consideration are two of the stronger rosters in the league right now, Arizona and Denver. Broncos’ General Manager, John Elway is one of the most aggressive GM’s out there and would take Romo in a heartbeat if he thought current starter Trevor Siemian and first round pick Paxton Lynch weren’t up to starting standard. At least in the short term. The Cardinals desperately crave strong quarterback play, and Romo would be a big upgrade over 2016 Carson Palmer who’s looked all shades of awful. Although like Houston, they’ll find themselves squeezed by very limited cap room, and a big move here appears highly unlikely.
All situations considered at this point, it appears the most likely landing spot for the 4 time Pro Bowler, would likely be Chicago, New York, or if Jerry Jones gets offered the world, a trip to footballing purgatory in Cleveland or San Francisco.