With his future up in the air, here’s the one question no one is asking when it comes to Dallas Cowboys veteran quarterback Tony Romo.
At this time last year, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo was coming off a disappointing 2015 regular season. Only able to play in a total of four games due to two separate collarbone injuries, Romo was simply focusing on getting healthy in order to helm America’s Team once again.
Following the NFL Draft last year, Romo had to be excited. The Cowboys used the fourth overall selection to select Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott. In 2014, Dallas went 12-4, they were undefeated on the road in the regular season and got their first playoff win in five years all with former running back DeMarco Murray leading the league in rushing.
“Why would Tony Romo even want to play for the Dallas Cowboys now?”
But a preseason back injury robbed the 14-year veteran of that excitement. And fourth round rookie quarterback Dak Prescott took his place under center. Romo would return during the season, but amidst an 11-game winning streak, the Dallas brass could not justify replacing a red hot Prescott in the starting lineup. So Tony was regulated to the back-up role.
The Cowboys would end the regular season with a 13-3 record, a first round bye in the playoffs and home field advantage throughout the postseason. Prescott would go on to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award and be elected to the Pro Bowl.
Despite those achievements, the idea that Romo could somehow retake the starting role in Dallas over the 23-year old phenom has been floated around. And the fact Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones is still unclear how the Romo situation will play out only widens the door for speculation.
But here’s the question no one seems to be asking when it comes to the aging quarterback: Why would Tony Romo even want to play for the Dallas Cowboys now?
"“Why would a 37-year-old veteran want to come back to fight for a job he might not win?” asked David Helman, staff writer for DallasCowboys.com, during a recent mailbag article. “Why would the organization want to waste a year of Dak’s youth (and just as importantly, his cheap rookie contract) by sitting him? Why would they want to hinder his development? Football is a meritocracy to a degree, but electing to go with Dak was a decision I just don’t think you can go back on.”"
To stay in Dallas is really a no win situation for Romo. If the Cowboys coaches told him they were re-opening the starting quarterback position back up this offseason, Tony would have to compete for his job. Now, that is something Romo wanted when he initially returned from injury during the regular season. And he was told no.
If allowed to compete for the job under center this offseason, there is a chance Prescott beats Romo. If so, then the veteran is once again regulated to a back-up role with virtually no chance of regaining the starting role via his merits alone.
If Romo beats out Prescott for the top spot on the depth chart, then the aging veteran has a much younger and healthier Pro Bowler hovering over him all season. And the instant Tony shows any signs of weakness, age, injury or just even has a bad game; the chants of “We Want Dak” will begin echoing throughout AT&T Stadium.
Obviously, Romo being at the helm of America’s Team makes sense due to his vast experience. But Prescott’s youth, health and recent success seem to trump Tony’s history in Dallas. I believe all signs point to Romo playing elsewhere in 2017. A fresh start seems like the best plan for both the franchise and the player moving forward.