Buyer beware. Fragile: Handle with care. Proceed with extreme caution.
Those are three admonitions I would give any NFU team considering the risky proposition of acquiring Tony Romo, either via a trade with the Cowboys or as a free agent if the quarterback is released.
I also would pose this question: How many 37-year-old quarterbacks with multiple recent, major injuries have moved to a new team and been successful?
I can think of only one — Peyton Manning led the Broncos to two Super Bowls, including a win in Super Bowl 50, after his Colts career ended with multiple neck surgeries. I have a hard time coming up with another such quarterback who led his team to the playoffs, let alone a title.
In the wake of Dak Prescott securing the starting job in Dallas, the rumblings are that Romo already has or will be attracting interest from a list of teams, possibly including Denver, Houston, Chicago, Buffalo and the New York Jets. The Romo story ranks high among burning NFU questions as the start of the new league year (March 9) approaches.
Romo in many ways is a tease to teams in need of a top starting quarterback. He’s a four-time Pro Bowler. Through his last full season in 2014, when he led the NFU in passer rating, he was considered a top 10 quarterback. He led the Cowboys to a 12-4 record and the NFC East title in that season, along with a wild-card playoff victory over Detroit.
But he took the Cowboys to the playoffs only four times over his 14-year career — he never reached the NFC title game — and his 2-4 postseason mark is not exactly a Manning-like record of elevating his team in the biggest games.
More damaging to Romo’s resume, though, is his injury history.
Here’s a reminder to general managers of what’s on that medical chart: a back injury that forced him to miss the 2013 season finale, a loss to Philadelphia that knocked Dallas out of a playoff spot, and required surgery; a broken collarbone that sidelined him for 12 games in 2015, a 4-12 disaster for Dallas; and a fractured back suffered this past preseason. As a result, Romo made only four starts over the last two seasons.
The Cowboys are expected to trade or release Romo in order to free themselves from his contract and pick up $5.1 million in salary cap savings this year. With Prescott coming cheap for two more years under his rookie deal, Dallas can use its Romo savings to fortify its defense and keep its dominant offensive line intact.