Could the Dallas Cowboys trade Tony Romo for J.J. Watt?


Could the Dallas Cowboys trade quarterback Tony Romo to the Houston Texans and get star defensive end J.J. Watt in exchange?

Now that the Dallas Cowboys offseason has begun, the headlines in Dallas will be dominated by the potential trade of veteran quarterback Tony Romo. With a new quarterback in Dak Prescott now firmly entrenched under center for the foreseeable future, the Cowboys will likely entertain several offers to move the 36-year old.

But due to Romo’s age and injury history, it’s unclear what the Cowboys could expect in return for the four-time Pro Bowler. But the suitors are pretty clear. You can look around the league and easily spot which clubs could benefit instantly from a veteran like Tony under center.

Teams like the Chicago Bears, the New York Jets, the Buffalo Bills, the Denver Broncos, the San Francisco 49ers, the Cleveland Browns, the Minnesota Vikings, the Arizona Cardinals and the St. Louis Rams all have questions at the quarterback position. And Romo could be the answer.

But there are several factors that will determine where Romo will land in 2017, which could also be back in Dallas. Obviously, compensation for the veteran gunslinger is one. But as a beloved member of America’s Team for 14 years, Romo himself will likely have a big say as to where he plays next season. If so, Tony likely wants to play for a contender. And that could severally limit Dallas’ potential trade partners.

But there may be one team best suited to make a move for Romo. And that’s the Houston Texans. Just three and a half hours south of Dallas, Romo wouldn’t necessary have to uproot his family to play in H-Town. The Texans have a major need for a veteran presence under center as well. And they made the playoffs this season.

The main concern in a deal with the Texans would likely be money. Although Romo could renegotiate his contract to become more attractive to Houston, the Texans have already committed a large sum to last year’s big free agent signing of quarterback Brock Osweiler. The former Bronco signed a four-year, $72 million contract, $37 million guaranteed last March.

But Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter believes he may have a solution. What if the Cowboys and Texans simply swapped one veteran with injury concerns for another?

"“I would say Houston,” answered Carter when asked his gut feeling where Romo would land this offseason on the FS1 debate show Undisputed. “But I don’t like just the draft picks. Where Dallas is, they have a lot of good, young players. So I like an established player. And if you trade [Romo] to Houston, I would try to get one of their defensive players. I’d try to pull off a deal for J.J. Watt.”"

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Carter went on to say Watt’s back issues and the emergence of Jadeveon Clowney in Houston makes the three-time Defensive Player of the Year somewhat expendable. Although the former Minnesota Vikings wide receiver-turned-analyst also mentioned that Dallas would likely have to give up a draft pick as well to obtain the dominate defender.

Prior to the 2016 regular season, Watt hadn’t missed a single game due to injury in his five-year career. But the defensive star had a total of three surgeries last year. One for a groin injury and the other two on his bad back. Watt tried to play through his injuries but only lasted three games before being placed on Injured Reserve. He recorded eight tackles and 1.5 sacks in that short span.

In 2015, Watt played despite have a broken hand, a herniated disk in his back and coming off major abdominal surgery. That season he recorded 76 tackles, 17.5 sacks, 8 pass defends and three forced fumbles. He also won his third Defensive Player of the Year award.

Obviously, the talented defensive end would instantly upgrade the Cowboys pass-rush needy defense. And Watt’s veteran presence could also help advance the careers of Dallas’ young defensive lions like DeMarcus Lawrence, David Irving and Jaylon Smith.

But Watt has also hinted at early retirement, not wanting to be one of those players who try to hold out as long as possible. And with his injuries starting to pile up, you have to think the 27-year old is closer to the end of his career than the beginning.

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In 2014, Watt signed a massive eight-year, $108.88 million deal with a whopping $51.8 million guaranteed. Still, if the talented defender could bring Super Bowl glory to Dallas, it’s a move that no one would question.