Dallas Cowboys Rumors & News

Redskins Pondering Tony Romo Pursuit?

The Redskins have made little progress in extension talks with quarterback Kirk Cousins, and the club is now “wondering” if they could acquire a veteran signal-caller such as the Cowboys’ Tony Romo if Cousins were traded, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link).Tony Romo (vertical)

[RELATED: Kirk Cousins Won’t Sign Extension Before Franchise Deadline]

Clearly, a Mr. Romo Goes To Washington scenario is fraught with potential — and possibly deal-breaking — hurdles. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones almost certainly wouldn’t trade a viable quarterback to a division rival, and would seemingly be especially loathe to do so with Romo, with whom Jones has a personal relationship. Romo, for what it’s worth, expects to be cut rather dealt, but even a release could come with a tacit agreement that Romo not sign with an NFC East club like the Redskins.

A Romo acquisition would be preceded by a Cousins trade, per Cole, who reported last month that the 49ers would be among the clubs interested in bringing Cousins aboard. San Francisco would be open to trading the No. 2 overall pick to land Cousins, whom the Niners view as their Plan A at quarterback. For such a deal to go down, the Redskins would first to need to franchise Cousins in order to retain his rights, then work out a trade with the 49ers that would be officially consummated on March 9 (or anytime thereafter).

Romo, 36, is due base salaries of $14MM, $19.5MM, $20.5MM in each of the next three seasons, but none of that money is guaranteed. The Bills have mentioned as a potential suitor for Romo, as have the Broncos, while Denver, Houston, Arizona, and Kansas City have been identified as Romo’s preferred destinations.

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Chiefs Could Part Ways With Alex Smith?

Alex Smith has averaged nearly 11 wins per season during his four-year run with the Chiefs, but that won’t stop Kansas City from exploring other quarterback options this offseason, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link), who notes a “growing sense” among NFL executives that the Chiefs could move on from Smith. However, Kansas City will likely only part ways Smith if it’s able to acquire another signal-caller such as the Cowboys’ Tony Romo or the Patriots’ Jimmy Garoppolo, per Cole.Alex Smith

[RELATED: Chiefs Likely To Decline Nick Foles’ Option]

Smith’s potential ouster has been a topic of conversation before, as has possible mutual interest between the Chiefs and Romo. A prospective Kansas City acquisition of Garoppolo, however, has not, although the New England signal-caller figures to be a desirable item in the coming weeks, as the Browns, Bears, and 49ers are all expected to make a push for Garoppolo (and have more attractive draft picks to offer).

A “strong feeling” exists within league circles that the Chiefs have plateaued with Smith, but Kansas City won’t acquire Romo — or presumably, Garoppolo — without cutting ties with Smith first. While the Chiefs could look to trade Smith to a quarterback-needy club, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported earlier this month that Kansas City would likely release Smith if they landed Romo. The Chiefs would save $9.7MM by cutting Smith, or $13.3MM by designating him as a post-June 1 release.

Since being acquired prior to the 2013 campaign, Smith has averaged 19 touchdowns and seven interceptions per season while completing 64.5% of his passes for the Chiefs. Smith, 32, has led Kansas City to three postseason appearances during that span, but the Chiefs have never advanced past the Divisional Round.

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Cowboys Free Up Cap Space

The Cowboys entered Monday with the worst cap situation in the NFL for 2017, but that’s no longer the case. The club has restructured the contracts of two of its top players, All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith and All-Pro center Travis Frederick, reports Todd Archer of ESPN.com. The changes will save Dallas $17.3MM and take the team under the projected $168MM cap for next season.

Tyron Smith

In order to make the contracts of Smith and Frederick less onerous, the Cowboys converted approximately $21MM of the $24MM they’re due in 2017 into signing bonuses, according to Archer. Smith had been set to rake in a $10MM base salary, while Frederick was slated to earn over $14MM.

This is now the second straight year in which the Cowboys have reworked Smith’s contract. Smith, who signed an eight-year, $98MM extension in 2014, ranks first among left tackles in total value and third in both yearly average and guarantees ($22MM-plus). The 26-year-old has started in all 92 appearances since the Cowboys selected him ninth overall in the 2011 draft, and he’s coming off a season in which he ranked 16th among Pro Football Focus’ 78 qualified tackles.

As was the case with Smith, Frederick was hugely instrumental in the success the Cowboys’ Dak Prescott– and Ezekiel Elliott-led offense experienced in 2016. Frederick inked a six-year, $54.6MM extension with $18.2MM fully guaranteed last August, and currently leads all centers in total value and yearly mean. He’s second only to the Falcons’ Alex Mack in guarantees. The 31st pick in 2013, Frederick hasn’t missed a game or a start in four years with the Cowboys. The 25-year-old was PFF’s second-best center in 2016.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys Would Likely Give Tony Romo Post-June 1 Designation

  • Tony Romo is expecting the Cowboys to release him, and if the team does cut the quarterback, the likelihood is that it will assign him a post-June 1 designation, writes Todd Archer of ESPN.com. That would give the Cowboys $14MM in cap space for 2017, far more than the $5.1MM they’d get if they were to release Romo without the June designation. Dallas wouldn’t gain that $14MM in spending space until June 2, well after the busiest portion of the offseason, but Archer contends the club could put the money to use to sign draft picks, add free agents during the year and even carry over into 2018, among other possibilities.

Would Cowboys Consider RT With R1 Pick?

  • Would the Cowboys taking an offensive lineman with their No. 28 overall pick sound crazy given their line’s status as arguably the NFL’s best? However, right tackle Doug Free is entering a contract year, and Todd Archer of ESPN.com notes the team could consider Wisconsin’s Ryan Ramczyk with its top pick in a developmental scenario. Archer expects Free to return for the 2017 season. If nothing else, cutting Free — and saving $5MM — would create a hole not easily filled in a weaker tackle market. But the 33-year-old blocker might be entering his final season in Dallas. ESPN.com’s Mel Kiper Jr.’s latest mock draft (Insider link) has Ramczyk going to the Seahawks at No. 26 and the Cowboys taking Florida cornerback Teez Tabor.
  • The Bears have infiltrated a Las Vegas sports book’s top picks for Tony Romo‘s landing spot. Sportsbook.ag’s R.J. Bell (via the Dallas Morning News) projects the Bears as Romo’s fourth-most likely 2017 employer — behind the Texans, Broncos and Cowboys. Houston’s emerged as the favorite despite the organization’s known stance being to avoid getting involved for Romo. Interestingly, the Chiefs are down at No. 5 after being viewed as a primary destination. ESPN.com also projected a Bears/Romo partnership as being more likely than many believe.

Tony Romo Open To Facilitating Trade

While the ideal outcome for Tony Romo‘s chances at starting for a contending team is a Cowboys release, the 15th-year veteran knows he could possibly fetch his team a Day 2 pick in a trade. The likely departing quarterback is open to the possibility of adjusting his contract to help facilitate a trade, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports.

This adjustment, though, would be designed to help Romo land with a contending team. But the veteran passer does not have a mandate about how this plays out. He’s not demanding anything from the Cowboys and does not plan to do so, per La Canfora. Jerry Jones and his previous starting quarterback have not sat down to discuss this complex situation yet, but La Canfora notes this dialogue will likely occur before the Cowboys’ contingent leaves for the Combine early next month.

Romo expects to be released, but La Canfora notes neither side knows how this saga will unfold at this juncture. The four-time Pro Bowler will carry a league-high $24.7MM cap figure in 2017 and is signed through 2019, with cap numbers of $25.2MM and $23.7MM in ’18 and ’19 set. It would take plenty of adjusting to get prospective quarterback-needy contenders to agree to a trade, though, especially considering Romo’s now-extensive injury history.

However, La Canfora notes the since-demoted passer is “working out like a demon” to be ready physically this offseason. Romo has not started in a game since November of 2015 and played in just one in 2016.

The Cowboys could be aiming for a third-round pick for Romo, but two of the teams that would fit the profile for a possible suitor — the Broncos and Texans — are not said to be interested in a trade. The Broncos, though, could be interested in signing the 36-year-old QB if he hits the free agent market. Their public commitment to Alex Smith notwithstanding, the Chiefs may be on the lookout here as well.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Machota: Cowboys Likely To Draft DE Early

  • In his latest chat with fans, Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News says that he expects the Cowboys to select a defensive end with one of their first two picks in this year’s draft. The 2017 class has a fair amount of talent at the edge rushing positions, so Dallas should be able to land a quality prospect even though they are picking near the end of each round.

Darren McFadden Could Return To Cowboys

Tony Romo Expecting To Be Cut By Cowboys

We’ve heard quite a bit of Tony Romo trade speculation in recent months, but the veteran quarterback sees things playing out differently. Romo is expecting to be released and he believes he can be a starting quarterback in the NFL for two or three more seasons, a source tells Ed Werder of ESPN.com (on Twitter).Tony Romo

Romo, who turns 37 in April, has not played a full season of football since 2014. His current contract calls for him to earn a $14MM base salary in 2017 and it would be challenging for the Cowboys to convince another team to give up draft picks in addition to paying out that deal. Beyond that, Romo presumably wants to choose his own landing spot rather than leave it to chance. Given his close relationship with owner Jerry Jones, it seems possible that he could secure his release.

One recent report claimed the Bills have “significant” interest in Romo, but the veteran might want to join a team that is closer to contention. The Broncos have been frequently mentioned as a possibility while the nearby Texans are not interested.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboy Notes: Williams, Church

  • The Cowboys coaching staff is “much higher” on free agent Terrance Williams than the rest of the league, according to Todd Archer of ESPN.com, who notes Dallas’ decision-makers respect Williams’ consistency and availability. Cowboys CEO Stephen Jones has already expressed an interest in re-signing Williams, who finished the 2016 campaign with 44 receptions for 594 yards and four touchdowns, but Archer believes another club with more financial wiggle room will likely swoop in and steal Williams away from Dallas.
  • Pending free agent safety Barry Church sounds open to giving the Cowboys some sort of hometown discount, but like most players reaching the open market for the first time, Church wants to capitalize on his next contract. “It’s definitely a business decision, but … the Cowboys … were the team that gave me that gave me the opportunity coming out of the draft, being undrafted,” Church told SiriusXM NFL Radio. “Everybody else kind of passed up on me. But it’s definitely a business decision.” Church, 29, managed two interceptions and four passes defensed in 12 games with Dallas last season, and now joins a free agent safety class that includes Eric Berry and Tony Jefferson.