The Dallas Cowboys’ commitment to Tony Romo will be tested.
Romo has been sidelined all season with a back injury, but the veteran quarterback is expected to soon be healthy enough to return to the gridiron. The problem for Romo is that rookie Dak Prescott has filled in admirably in his absence, leaving many wondering whether Dallas should stick with its first-year signal caller even when Romo is fully healed.
The Cowboys are 4-1 going into their Week 6 matchup with the Green Bay Packers, and Prescott has yet to throw an interception. The 23-year-old QB, who was drafted in the fourth round, has formed a dynamic offensive tandem with rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott.
That said, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones remains adamant that Romo is the team’s No. 1 quarterback, just as he’s been (when healthy) since 2006. If true, Prescott could find his way to the bench as soon as this month despite his impressive start to his career. It’s a unique situation, to say the least.
So, how should the Cowboys address their quarterback controversy? ESPN’s John Clayton reached out to five NFL front office executives to gather their takes on what Dallas should do when Romo returns.
Here’s what they told Clayton.
Executive 1: Don’t mess with a good thing.
“Why risk ruining the chemistry? If you could go back to Romo and you lose a game, you could lose the locker room. I would stay with Prescott. There has always been that old thought that a starter can’t lose your job to injury. The current players may not remember the Wally Pipp story, where Wally Pipp got hurt and was replaced by Lou Gehrig and lost his job forever.”
Executive 2: Keep Romo, start Prescott.
“They could work out the cap consequences of moving on from Romo over the next two or three years. Sure, the Cowboys are somewhat married to Tony because of the cap. But let’s be realistic here. Tony has a great relationship with the team and the owners. He’s a Cowboy. I think there is a chance they could lower his salary and accept a backup role for the next couple years and stay with the team. Because of his age and injuries, there are no guarantees he can get a big contract as a starter for a new team.”
Executive 3: Start Romo, but get Prescott ready.
“It’s a good dilemma to have because you have two quarterbacks. I would go back to the established quarterback. You can always go back to Dak if there is an injury or if Romo is struggling. That’s not a bad spot to be in.”
Executive 4: Keep building a new core, get rid of Romo after the season.
“If you are 5-1 going into the bye week or are close to 6-2 by Week 9, there is no way you should go back to Romo. The players would revolt. You are developing a good core of good, young players on offense. I’d get rid of Romo after the season.”
Executive 5: Move on from Romo.
“It’s an easy decision for me. Romo is gone. He’s old. He’s injured. He has back problems. At some point, a franchise has to move on. Dak Prescott gives them that option. I liked Dak in college and thought he could be good in the pros, and now he’s showing it.”
Thumbnail photo via Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports Images