The Tony Romo Sweepstakes looks to be down to two teams. As Dak Prescott played his way to the becoming Dallas Cowboys' quarterback of the future AND the present; Tony Romo's role with the team became very clear... there is not one. His contract is too large to be a backup quarterback and he was not willing to take less money to sit the bench. Several weeks ago the list of possible landing spots ranged from bad teams like the Browns to talented teams that lack that missing piece at quarterback. It seems that the list of potential landing spots for Romo has been narrowed down to two teams. On February 18, 2017, Andre Vergara of Fox Sports reported that there are really only two teams with a real chance to land Romo: the Arizona Cardinals and the Houston Texans.
First and perhaps foremost, Romo wants to play for a Super Bowl contender. This eliminates teams that are in the rebuilding process. So you an go ahead and scratch the Browns, the Bears, and the Jets off of the list. Arizona is one year removed from making the NFC Championship game; so they are a prime spot. Similarly, Houston was a playoff team that gave the Super Bowl Champs all they could handle without J.J. Watt.
The Cardinals are a dangerous offense with the least talked about superstar running back in the league, David Johnson. Further, the future Hall of Famer, Larry Fitzgerald announced he will be returning to a dangerous receiving corps. One of the biggest problems with the Cardinals offense in 2016 was the inaccuracy of Carson Palmer. In 2015 he was hitting tight windows and pushing the ball down the field. 2016 was a different story as passing yards, touchdowns, quarterback rating, and completion percentage were all down from 2015. Further, interceptions increased from 11 to 14. With Palmer announcing he is returning to play in 2017, the issue for Arizona would be choosing Romo over the 38 year old Palmer. I am not an NFL general manager... yet... but I believe that choice is an easy one. Palmer is an aging quarterback that is losing his touch. Romo, is a gunslinger with some tread left on the tires. Romo could quickly step into this offense and put up solid numbers in Bruce Arians' offense. Will the Cardinals make the tough decision to push aside a veteran that has given the Cardinals some great seasons in favor of a younger veteran in the hopes of winning now? We shall see.
The Texans defense allowed the fewest yards in 2016 without former NFL Defensive Player of the Year, J.J. Watt. The combination of Jadeveon Clowney, Whitney Mercilus, and a healthy J.J. Watt makes for a devastating defense in 2017. The plan in 2016 was to ride that great defense and retool the offense with the additions of Lamar Miller and Brock Osweiler. This plan came off of the rails when Brock Osweiler fell flat on his face. The Texans dealt a lot shekels to get the Peyton Manning backup to take this offense to the next level. Unfortunately for the Texans, Osweiler was down right awful in 2016. So much so, that the Texans are now exploring other options after one year of the Osweiler Experiment. Romo would be a significant upgrade from Osweiler in every category. The Texans are setup to win now. Keeping these defensive superstars happy and properly paid will be increasingly difficult in the coming years. As such, the Texans need to get a quarterback that can lead an offense that has the potential to be very good. DeAndre Hopkins is an elite receiver that had an awful year. He will bounce back in 2017; he is too good not to. The Texans also have a talented young receiver in Will Fuller and a talented young tight end in C.J. Fiedorowicz. One hurdle to signing Romo is Osweiler's big contract. It will be difficult to pay both Romo and Osweiler; and moving Osweiler to another team will be just as difficult due to his poor play and big contract. If the Texans can find a way to land Romo, they could truly make a run at the Super Bowl in 2017.
Tony Romo is expected to be released by the Dallas Cowboys instead of traded; therefore Romo's destination is in his own hands. If he chooses the Cardinals or the Texans it would be a win-win for both Romo and the team. Romo will not lead the league in passing next year but he could be the missing piece that the Cardinals and the Texans need to make a serious run at the Super Bowl this season.