The (3-4) Dallas Cowboys and the (3-4) San Diego Chargers. Two NFL teams that are in desperate need for a change. And their is no more desperate move then one involving franchise quarterbacks. Unfortunately, good quarterbacks are so rare that trading them is almost impossible. But if Dallas is interested in unloading it’s starting quarterback, Tony Romo, San Diego is one of the few places that might make sense.
There are a number of teams that are in need of a franchise quarterback like Romo. The Arizona Cardinals, Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns, New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs, and the St. Louis Rams come to mind. The trouble is, if Dallas trades Romo they are left with Kyle Orton as their starter. And even though Orton has proven himself in this league as a decent player, most wouldn’t consider him a franchise quarterback.
The problem is you need a franchise quarterback for a franchise quarterback, or at least equal value. That’s why you never see them traded, only signed in free agency. But with Phillip Rivers and Romo, a case could be made for trading each other’s problem child to benefit each other’s team in the future.
We all know that changing environments can do wonders for players. A bench player on one team can be a star on another. Both Rivers and Romo have had extended stays on their teams respectively. Both have had enough time to get the job done and simply haven’t. A new team, a new scheme and a new scene would benefit them both.
It also helps that both Romo and Rivers are similar in age. Tony is 32 while Phillip turns 31 in December. Their salaries are similar as well. Romo is signed through 2013 and is scheduled to make $11.5 million next year. Rivers is signed through 2015 and is scheduled to make $12 million next season.
And the similarities don’t end there. Rivers is a four time Pro Bowler (2006, 2009, 2010, 2011) . Romo has been there three times. (2006, 2007, 2009) Both have had prolific and future Hall of Fame tight ends to throw to in Antonio Gates and Jason Witten. And both quarterbacks have had their fair share of criticism. Romo has the moniker of being a choker in clutch time. While Rivers has dealt with questions surrounding his attitude and, recently, his decreasing arm strength.
Both Cowboys’ head coach Jason Garrett and Chargers’ head coach Norv Turner are on the proverbial hot seat this season. Both coaches need to make changes in order to keep their jobs. And both teams have a great relationship with each other in the off-season. The success of wideout Laurent Robinson in Dallas last year had a lot to do with that relationship.
On the negative side, there is always a transition period needed to learn each other’s playbooks. Mix into that time to get proper chemistry with new teammates, and you can kiss the playoffs good-bye this year. But for two teams looking to change their “culture”, nothing does that better then cutting off the head of the problem. The question is whose head will roll first: the quarterback’s or the coach’s? 99% of the time, it’s the latter.
Chances are both teams will keep what they have now. Pulling the trigger on a trade like this would be historic. Therefore, Romo and Rivers will likely play out their contracts for their respective teams. And because of that, both teams will have a hard time making the playoffs this season and beyond.
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