Tony Romo officially gave up his job as Dallas Cowboys quarterback this week.
During a difficult press conference, Romo, who appeared to be fighting back tears and frustration, gave an endorsement to rookie QB Dak Prescott. If one thing became clear in that press conference, it’s that Romo likely is in the midst of his final season with the Cowboys, who have turned the keys over to Prescott.
Paying your backup quarterback $24.7 million, $25.2 million and $23.7 million over the next three years, respectively — as the Cowboys will if they keep Romo — simply isn’t conducive to running a successful football team.
While the Cowboys could waive Romo, they’d still be on the books for dead cap hits of $19.6 million, $8.9 million and $3.2 million in the next three seasons. Trading Romo could shed his contract from the books altogether.
With all that in mind, here are what we see as the top destinations for Tony Romo in 2017 and beyond.
New York Jets
It’s really not a stretch to say that Romo, if healthy, could be by far the best QB in Jets history, considering Old Man Brett Favre, Chad Pennington and Ryan Fitzpatrick are in the top five. They’re the closest team to playoff contention that doesn’t have a quarterback, despite what their 2016 record tells you. Because of that, they might overpay with two first-round draft picks to acquire Romo. Salary cap space could be an issue, but the Cowboys reportedly were working on a deal for defensive end Sheldon Richardson at the deadline, so between his money and freeing themselves of Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York has the groundwork here laid out.
They’ve got a Super Bowl-caliber defense, a good young offense, and Adrian Peterson. Though they just traded away a first-round pick to acquire Sam Bradford, maybe they could still be willing to spend to get a guy like Tony Romo instead of waiting for Teddy Bridgewater to get healthy or be ready. Bradford’s expiring contract could be dealt over the summer and he subsequently could be released at just a $4 million dead cap hit, or he could be kept as a backup for a year as a decent and cheaper insurance policy to Prescott.
Kansas City Chiefs
Ditto what we said about the Vikings for KC’s defense and offense. The problem here is moving on from Alex Smith — which the Chiefs have been rumored to be ready to do — and his contract, which is similar to Romo’s but only features $7.2 million and $3.6 million dead cap hits over the next two seasons before free agency.
OK, so the Jets aren’t the most Super Bowl-ready team without a quarterback. How could we forget the Broncos?! John Elway already has done this once before with Peyton Manning, and it led him to two Super Bowls and one championship in four seasons. This team is built to win now, and Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch aren’t going to get the job done.
Los Angeles Rams
Tony Romo is a nice, shiny toy to bring to the L.A. fans who are being driven away by Case Keenum and coach Jeff “Mr. 8-8” Fischer. If you want to let rookie QB Jared Goff sit and learn, Romo gives you a chance to win while it happens.
Tony, have you ever been to Aruba? It’s magical. Seriously, they don’t call it “One Happy Island” for nothing. You know what the best part is? No one is running full speed into you and sending your precious glass backbone catapulting toward the ground — or a wheelchair. Please, Tony, for the love of God, consider this.
Thumbnail photo via Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports Images