Dec 22, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) throws a touchdown pass as Washington Redskins defensive end Chris Baker (92) defends in the second quarter at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Gil Brandt: Cowboys Should Find Tony Romo's Successor Now

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 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.”

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Tags: Dallas Cowboys Gil Brandt Jerry Jones Tony Romo

  • PaulTX

    I think in the twilight years of your franchise quarterback, you should always be drafting and developing QBs to replace him. Green Bay did it with Rodgers and Farve. Patriots did it with Brady and Bledsoe. I think the Cowboys tried that with McGee. I really don’t see a stand out QB in this draft like Andrew Luck. I see Carr, Manziel, Bortles, and Bridgewater having first round grades, but I think the Cowboys should use their pick else where. Aaron Murray, Tom Savage, and David Fales should be around in later rounds. I like Casey Pachall from TCU, and he should be around in the 7th.

    • Old Frog

      As much as I would love to see another Frog on the roster, I think Pachall has too many tatoos and would offend Jason’s RKG sensibilities as a serious contender for Romo’s replacement but he would be a strong arm in camp as an UDFA.

      • PaulTX

        He has a quick release and a strong arm, neither of which you can teach. You never know, and it doesn’t cost much to give him a test drive.

        • Old Frog


  • David Jordan

    AJ McCarron would be a good pick.

  • Chad

    I finally got to see a compilation video of Brett Smith. If Tony, Wade, and Jason can iron out the mechanics, this kid could be great.

  • brian basile

    Smith is who I have had in my wish draft…5th rd