Ah, the NFL offseason. Where the rumors are rampant and the desperation even more so. If your team is active in free agency and loves making big splashes, then the start of the league year is like a second Christmas. For us Broncos fans, John Elway may as well be Santa Claus, because he usually delivers an assortment of shiny new toys every March. Except last year, but hey he helped bring us a Super Bowl. How greedy are you people?
Anyway, there is one rumor that keeps coming up that I just can’t ignore. That of course is the prevailing theory that the Broncos are the front-runners to be Tony Romo’s rebound if the Cowboys file for divorce. You never know what will happen with these kinds of relationships, especially in Texas, but it seems likely that Romo and the Cowboys have reached a crossroads. The question of the day is whether or not Romo is even worth pursuing, or if at this point he is just damaged goods.
Let’s be clear on one thing: signing Peyton Manning was as good as punching an annual ticket for a first-round bye, and clearing a path to the Super Bowl. Signing Tony Romo is more like scheduling your annual eye-exam a year in advance, but then that appointment comes around and it’s not that great of a fit for you anymore. You may not have liked that joke very much (stay with me, I’m warming up), but you can at least agree with me when I say that there is a very clear difference between bringing in the Sheriff and bringing in a guy that probably dresses like one.
So here’s what I’m going to do: I’ll gave you three reasons for why signing Tony Romo would be beneficial for the Broncos, in my humble opinion, and three reasons for why it would make me extremely nervous. You with me so far? Okay, let’s do it.
Good Romo: He’s statistically much better than you might realize.
Did you know that Tony Romo has only had one season in which he’s thrown more than 15 interceptions? That he’s thrown 10 or fewer in seven of the past eight years? And were you privy to the fact that he has seven seasons with 25+ touchdown passes? Probably not, because Romo’s reputation outside of Dallas for years has been that he’s a choker. A turnover machine. The two to three fumbles that he coughs up per season don’t help his cause, but Romo has only three more career interceptions and a higher career quarterback rating (117, 97.1) than Matt Ryan (114, 93.6).
Now I’m not saying we should bring in a guy who could help us blow a 17 point lead in the Super Bowl (that’s just one reason I’m glad that Elway passed on Kyle Shanahan). I’m just saying that statistically speaking, Romo compares favorably to some of the more prolific passers in the NFL today, especially in the last two seasons when he started 15 games.
Bad Romo: He’s only played five games the past two seasons
And this is where the stats argument loses some of its validity. “Yeah, sure, Romo is pretty good when he plays. Which he hasn’t done much of recently.” This is the biggest concern that I and pretty much everyone else who loves the Broncos has about bringing in Romo. It’s the reason that he’s no longer the starter in Dallas and why Jerry Jones is even considering breaking up with him in the first place.
I like Tony Romo as a quarterback. I’ve defended him on this blog in the past. I just think there’s a good chance that if the Broncos hand him $10-12 million, they will be subtracting resources from other areas of need that could help Paxton Lynch (yes, Lynch, not Siemian) when he has to fill in for an injured Romo. To me, it’s not a question of IF he’ll get hurt. It’s WHEN and for HOW LONG. Sorry for yelling. Moving on.
Good Romo: He would provide some much needed veteran leadership
Among the many flaws that sunk this team’s playoff hopes last season, one of the more profound ones was the absolute dearth of veteran leadership on the offensive side of the ball. Trevor Siemian couldn’t fill Manning’s shoes in that regard, but no one else stepped up to pick up some of the slack. Enter Tony Romo, who is in the twilight of his career and certainly won’t put up with any crap on his quest for that elusive Super Bowl ring. I have a feeling everybody would fall in line and the defense would be thrilled to have an actual offense helping them win games for a change.
Unless he’s hurt, in which case his teammates will just tell him to go sit down before he breaks something else.
Bad Romo: He has very little playoff experience to fall back on
Romo has a 2-4 career playoff record. He has never played in a conference championship game, let alone a Super Bowl. It’s not like he has a lengthy resume of signature victories in January, so while the Broncos could feel confident about him getting them to the playoffs (if healthy), there are virtually no guarantees how far they’ll advance or how Romo will perform when the pressure gets cranked up to 11.
As Kevin pointed out, Romo lives in the Dallas area so he’s probably been to a Super Bowl. He was just in a suite with Jerry and not actually on the field. It’s a technicality, but I digress.
Good Romo: He would provide the Broncos with a clear succession plan at QB
I have some bad news for the Trevor Siemian fan club: if Romo changes his business address from Jerry World to Dove Valley this offseason, that almost definitely means that your guy is on the way out. There’s no doubt that Siemian is a better quarterback right now than Paxton Lynch. That was clear last season and may very well be the case again this year. The thing is though, Lynch wasn’t brought in to be an immediate fix. Elway traded up to get him in the draft because he believed that while the pride of Memphis needed a little seasoning (you know, maybe a year or two’s worth), that he could eventually provide a long-term solution at the most important position on the team.
And if that’s still the plan, there’s no point in keeping two guys on the roster who are better than Lynch. If Romo is the one who can help you win now, then jettison Siemian and keep developing Lynch as the answer for tomorrow. I don’t think that Trevor is the QB of the future and if the Broncos bring in Romo, they don’t believe that either. Sorry if that hurt your feelings.
The best part is that this wouldn’t be another Brock Osweiler situation. Romo could start for two seasons, then the Broncos would still have the final year of Lynch’s rookie contract, plus his fifth-year option, to see if he’s worth shelling out top dollar for. Sounds good to me.
Bad Romo: I’d rather have Calais Campbell
And this is where this gets especially murky for me. I’m open to bringing in Romo for a reasonable contract. It’s not going to sit well for me though if it costs us a chance at a guy like Campbell, who could make a bigger impact and would fit a more urgent position of need. And I have the sneaking suspicion that either Romo or Campbell will be wearing orange and blue next season, but not both. My vote is for Campbell. Trevor will be better with an improved offensive line and more playmakers, right? Hell, Kyle Orton took the Bears to the playoffs one year!
Well, that’s my take everybody. Whether you liked it or are kind of pissed off at me for writing it, thanks for reading. Now we just wait and see what Santa Elway brings us this year.