The trading deadline for the NFL is Tuesday, October 19, 2010 at 5p.m. eastern. Tony Romo has had a subpar year this year. Last year he had a career low 9 interceptions. In five games, Romo has seven interceptions. Worse yet, he has lead the Cowboys to a 1-4 record when the team had Super Bowl expectations.
Who would want Romo? Certainly there are a variety of teams who do not have a legitimate quarterback in place: Buffalo, Cleveland, Jacksonville, Oakland, Carolina, or Arizona. Some of the teams have competent players manning the quarterback position, but Romo has play making ability that many of the others do not.
What would we receive in return? Donovan McNabb was traded for a 2nd round pick as well as a conditional pick which could be as high as a 3rd round pick. McNabb was 33 when he was traded; Romo just turned 30. While you could argue that McNabb is the more accomplished quarterback, Romo is younger and has outplayed his counterpart in recent years. At the very least, the Cowboys should be able to get a 2nd round pick. If there is a bidding war between the aforementioned teams, the Cowboys could possibly receive a first round pick along with another high conditional pick.
Why trade Romo? Because the Cowboys organization has failed him. The Cowboys have placed around Romo a power back who runs out of bounds, hasn’t moved a pile since 2008, and no longer dishes out punishment. The Cowboys speed back has gained upper body muscle mass and has lost the explosiveness necessary to be considered a speed back. The offensive line is made of mostly older underachieving veterans. The left tackle has played well for most of the season, but didn’t bother to block an all-pro defensive end (Jared Allen) leaving Romo wholly unprotected from his left side. A quarterback is a dependent position. The offensive line must give the QB time to throw, the WR’s must be in the right place at the right time, and the running backs have to gain positive yardage in early downs so the offensive isn’t constantly facing 3rd down and long.
Romo is one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the Dallas Cowboys franchise. It is unfair to his potential that he play along side the overrated and underachieving. Look at each of his seven interceptions: one was tipped by the defensive line because the tackle missed the block; one was a pass made while an unblocked defensive lineman was bearing down, one was a desperation throw at the end of the game, two were off the hands of the tight end, and one was a pass to the WR which is jarred loose after a hit and the ball lands in the arms of a defender. There is only one interception that he is fully responsible for, and it was an incredibly well disguised defensive call that was sold to perfection. When Romo’s arm started to move forward, the defender was entirely obscured by the offensive line.
Romo won’t be traded. The Cowboys will rebuild their offensive line via the draft and free agency. Romo will be a good soldier and will carry on without a complaint. It is ironic, however. In the 90’s the argument was, “What would Barry Sanders have done if he had Emmitt Smith‘s offensive line?” We can only imagine how much greater Romo could have been if he had a good offensive line.