When we talk about replacing a Dallas Cowboys quarterback, there are only a handful of men who have actually done it. Gil Brandt is one of those men. The former Vice President of player personnel for the Cowboys from 1960 to 1988, Brandt currently works as a Media senior analyst for NFL.com. In his most recent article for the site, the legendary Dallas front office member urges Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to “turn up the heat in the quarterback hunt” as the team’s current starter, Tony Romo, is closer to the end of his career than the beginning.
“Speaking of the quarterback position, the Cowboys are set for now with veteran Tony Romo, who is not yet on the decline. That said, he’s about to turn 34 and is going to count for $27 million against the cap in 2015. Oh, and he’s coming off back surgery. Romo’s days as an effective signal-caller eventually will come to an end, and the Cowboys would be wise to prepare themselves ahead of time by looking for his successor now. That process starts in the draft.”
And again, Brandt knows about replacing Cowboy quarterbacks. In his 28-year tenure as a part of the front office that built America’s Team into what we know it as today, Brandt had success replacing elite players before their ultimate decline in abilities left the team in a lurch.
“When I was with the Cowboys, we were habitually trying to find somebody to groom behind our starting quarterback, whether we were adding Roger Staubach and Craig Morton behind Don Meredith or adding Danny White behind Staubach. I think Dallas should always be looking for a developmental quarterback or two to have waiting in the wings.”
Currently, the Cowboys have tenth-year veteran quarterback Kyle Orton and 30-year old third-year Brandon Weeden as primary back-ups for Romo. Orton threatened retirement this offseason, before rethinking it due to the $3 million he would have to pay the team back from his signing bonus in order to do so. He’s expected to retire at the end of 2014 instead.
Weeden was signed just a couple weeks ago after a failed two-year stint as the Cleveland Browns starter. Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said last week that he believes Weeden is a developmental player for the team. Yet, Weeden’s age limits his ability to be considered the long-term solution at the position. Instead, Brandt believes the Cowboys front office should look to this year’s draft to find Romo’s ultimate successor.
“This is an ideal year to grab a quarterback. Dallas might want to take a look at someone like Eastern Illinois’ Jimmy Garoppolo, SMU’s Garrett Gilbert, Pittsburgh’s Tom Savage or Georgia’s Aaron Murray. But the Cowboys shouldn’t stop there; even if they find someone who has promise, they should always have their eye out for the next quarterback of the future.”