Cowboys owner Jerry Jones declared last week that he does not intend to move on from quarterback Tony Romo after the season, but the belief around the NFL is that Dak Prescott‘s backup will be in another uniform in 2017, reports Adam Schefter of ESPN.
While some expect the soon-to-be 37-year-old Romo to bring back a healthy return in a trade, general managers Schefter spoke to indicated otherwise. In the opinion of those GMs, Romo would net anywhere from a mid- to late-round conditional pick. One reason is that the Cowboys wouldn’t hold much leverage in trade talks because Jones, who’s close with Romo, would enable the four-time Pro Bowler to choose his next team. If that’s the case, the to-be-determined club wouldn’t have much incentive to surrender a significant pick for Romo, who’s due base salaries of $14MM, $19.5MM and $20.5MM over the final three years of his contract.
A high-end starter from 2006-14, Romo has played in just four games since the beginning of last season because of various injuries – including a broken bone in his back that left him inactive the first nine contests this year. When Romo went down during the preseason, the assumption was that he’d reclaim the starting job upon returning. But Prescott, a fourth-round rookie, had other ideas. The 23-year-old has gone from caretaker to star over the course of the season, having accounted for 21 touchdowns (17 passing, four rushing) against a meager two interceptions in the first 10 games of his career. Prescott also ranks third in the NFL in yards per attempt (8.35) and passer rating (108.6), and has helped the Cowboys to a league-best 9-1 record. The team hasn’t lost since dropping a 20-19 decision to the Giants in Week 1.
In the near term, Prescott’s brilliance has pushed Romo to the bench (he returned last Sunday in a No. 2 role). Down the line, it could lead Romo out of Dallas in the offseason. One potential suitor is the Broncos, who have gone 7-3 with roughly average play under center from Trevor Siemian.
The 24-year-old Siemian addressed the Romo rumors on Wednesday, telling Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post, “Not too worried about it, truthfully. This is a really important game for us. We have plenty of focus toward this coming Sunday. You can’t worry about that stuff too much.”
Denver does indeed face a crucial matchup Sunday against AFC West rival Kansas City, which is also 7-3. While the Broncos and Chiefs currently hold playoff spots in the AFC, they’re looking up at the division-leading Raiders (8-2), and the reigning Super Bowl champions will likely need more from Siemian if they’re going to overtake Oakland. In his first year as a starter, Siemian has completed 60.1 percent of throws, averaged 6.97 yards per attempt and tossed 12 scores against seven picks. With Romo likely to hit the market after the season, Siemian could be playing for his job over the next several weeks.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.