Woody Paige: To Romo or not to Romo, that is the question

Posted at 5:46 PM, Jan 23, 2017

DENVER — Romo, Oh! Or Romo, No!

That is the quarterback question, the quandary, the quarrel.

Do the Broncos go after Tony Romo, or go with Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch?

The Romo Matter will not pass.

Emmanuel Sanders became the latest to address the Romo-in-Denver discussions.

In an appearance on the NFL Network Sunday morning, prior to the conference championship confrontations, the Broncos’ wide receiver, who has been added to the Pro Bowls, was asked about the possibility of Romo joining his team:

“I believe I would benefit. But one thing about it is: I’m always gonna take it back, and I’m just gonna put it on John Elway. In John Elway I trust. If he does bring (Romo) over, I think Tony Romo will fit good in (offensive coordinator Mike McCoy’s) system. It’s a no-huddle, up-tempo office. I that that it’s gonna be similar to the Cowboys. I think he has Demaryius Thomas and some receiver No. 10 on the other side (Sanders his own self). I feel like we will win ball games with Tony Romo, or potentially a championship.’’

Sanders realized what he had just uttered – opening an extremely large creepy-crawler can. So he went all politically correct: “At the same time, Paxton Lynch played in a spread offense at Memphis, and he can be successful. I think Trevor (Siemian) can be successful. We’ll see what we do. I can’t sit up here and say ‘Bring Tony Romo’ because I also have two other quarterbacks that are playing really well, too.

In the tradition of Charles Barkley, who occasionally says stuff he’d like to delete, Emmanuel today probably is wanting to claim: “I misquoted myself.’’

But, truth is, many of the Broncos, many of the Broncos’ fanatics, many in the Denver media, even some of the people working in the Broncos’ front office would like John Elway to at least consider the prospect of bringing Tony Romo to the franchise. After all, Elway did bring Peyton Manning to Colorado.

Elway is QB-centric. He played the position.

Think about it. As a new executive vice president of football operations, he did recommend (re: order) John Fox and then, and now, offensive coordinator to Mike McCoy to start starting Tim Tebow at quarterback in mid-2011. He did get rid of Tebow when Manning agreed to join the Broncos.

How many quarterbacks has Elway drafted?

How about Brock Osweiler in the second round in 2012, Zac Dysert in the seventh round in 2013 (and he’s still a backup with the Cardinals), Siemian in the seventh round of 2015 and Lynch in the first round of 2016 (after moving up). He also traded for Mark Sanchez the past off-season and traded him, and signed free agent Austin Davis in 2016 (and cut him later).

Elway also seriously examined Colin Kaepernick last year, and probably would have traded for him if Kaepernick had agreed to a significant pay decrease. Elway reached out to Philadelphia about Sam Bradford (who later was traded to Minnesota) and thought about Ryan Fitzpatrick (who hadn’t signed a contract at the time with the Jets). He checked the tires and the oil gauge on a few other quarterbacks before settling on Sanchez, who was a failure here.

So, Elway is not beyond checking the market.

And Romo has made it known that if he no longer has a future with the Cowboys, his first alternative choice would be the Broncos – probably because Manning made it to two Super Bowl in the twilight and sunset of his career in Denver, because of the presence of a great defense and because of Elway.

There has been speculation, and a reputable report by writer Ian Rapaport about Romo’s interest in the Broncos, and my reliable sources have told me that the 37-year-old’s top destination would be Denver.

Even though Dallas football dictator Jerry Jones loves Romo like a son, he even realizes that the franchise can’t take a nearly $25 million salary cap hit on Romo, who would be a backup to Dak Prescott, next season. As it is, the Cowboys will have to eat $10 million a year on deferred bonus payments.

The teams associated with Romo – the Broncos, the Texans, the Jets – would have to pay Romo $14 million, unless he would accept lower guarantees the next three seasons, or a shorter-term deal.

The anti-Romo group says he has never won anything in his career (two playoff victories); he is injury prone (only five games in the past two years because of knee and back problems), that he is approaching the end, and the Broncos shouldn’t give up much for him. All are true. Manning was coming off four surgeries on his neck, so he was uncertain, and he had only a few seasons left. However, he played in two Super Bowls (winning one), and was a four-time MVP.

Romo wouldn’t cost more than a conditional draft pick (or perhaps a trade for Siemian), or the Cowboys could decide to release him.

But my strongest opinion is that Elway will discuss Romo with his staff and CEO Joe Ellis, and ultimately opt to put his faith in Lynch – his guy – and his development under McCoy and Bill Musgrave (who was Elway’s backup at the end of both their playing careers). Musgrave did a job with Derek Carr, and McCoy has worked successfully with a half-dozen quarterbacks.

Nevertheless, as I told Lionel Bienvenu and Troy Renck on Denver7’s Sports Extra Sunday night, the matter of Romo will not be built in a day.


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