Dallas Cowboys Hurting Themselves By Holding On To Tony Romo [Opinion]

Two weeks into NFL free agency and Tony Romo is still on the Dallas Cowboys‘ roster. Are the Cowboys holding on to Tony Romo with the desire to trade him, or is something else motivating the Cowboys to stick their longstanding star quarterback?

That is a question which has been debated upon for weeks now. Various rumors have circulated regarding what the Cowboys want to do with Romo. The Cowboys truthfully have three options — keep, release, or trade Tony Romo. The latter is the least likely of choices, despite the Cowboys’ rumored desire to get compensation for him and control where he plays.

Some have speculated that the Washington Redskins could make a play for Tony Romo if the Dallas Cowboys were to release him. And while the Redskins still have Kirk Cousins on the roster, there is some discord brewing between the two sides. Much upheaval has taken place in the Redskins, who has lost their two top receivers in DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon, along with offensive coordinator Sean McVay. Most recently, the Redskins fired general manager Scot McCoughlan (courtesy of the Washington Post) after two seasons.

That type of turnover has to have Kirk Cousins peeved. And if things were not already complicated enough, there are ongoing contract negotiations that seem to be stalling. All of which points to the Washington Redskins potentially having interest in Tony Romo, provided that the Cowboys cut him.

Tony Romo and Dak Prescott

Cowboys’ owner and general manager Jerry Jones does not want Tony Romo to play for the long-time rival Redskins. Is that why Jones has not released him? Perhaps, but holding on to Romo could hurt the Cowboys in the long run.

Holding on to Tony Romo has done the Dallas Cowboys no favors thus far.

First, Tony Romo has a cap hit of $19 million, according to Spotrac. With a true need to improve the defense via NFL free agency, the Dallas Cowboys have had to stay on the sidelines as players go elsewhere. Also, the Cowboys have lost defensive players, including starting cornerback Brandon Carr, who signed a four-year deal (courtesy of Pro Football Talk) with the Baltimore Ravens.

Holding on to Tony Romo has cost the Dallas Cowboys an opportunity to add a difference-maker or two on defense. And with improvements on defense, the Cowboys could be favorites to reach the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, the top NFL defensive free agents are off board.

Even if the Dallas Cowboys were successful in trading Tony Romo, it might be too little, too late. As of now, all improvements may have to come from the NFL draft. That means if the Cowboys want to get better outside of the draft, they have to truly get something in return in a Romo trade.

Tony Romo

There are two teams which could conceivably trade for Tony Romo — the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans. Both teams are positioned to compete for the postseason and are a serviceable quarterback away from Super Bowl contention. Tony Romo could help either of them. The team Romo is not helping are the Dallas Cowboys.

While the Cowboys need a solid backup quarterback, Romo is a starter. He is a top-10 NFL passer when healthy. Romo is currently relegated to holding a clipboard, giving way to Dak Prescott. And while there seems to be no tension between the two, it is counterproductive to have Prescott looking over his shoulder every time he makes a bad throw.

What would stop Jerry Jones from suggesting a change at quarterback if his young signal-caller were to struggle in his second season? Just having Tony Romo on the Cowboys’ roster heading into training camp could be too much pressure for Prescott. It could be a recipe for disaster for the Dallas Cowboys.

Despite nothing taking place so far, there are reasons to expect a resolution for the Dallas Cowboys and Tony Romo around the NFL draft.

Teams will be looking tp acquire extra draft picks. Also, teams may attempt to sell off picks for future flexibility. Afterwards, a new wave of NFL players will hit the open market. Teams filling up holes in the draft will release veteran players in favor of younger, more affordable replacements.

If the Cowboys were to release Tony Romo they could use some of the cap space to add a couple of key veterans.

These are some interesting times for the Dallas Cowboys. Moving on from Tony Romo is the best move they can make. It would be best for Romo, who can continue to be a starter. This would also help the Cowboys by allowing Dak Prescott some room to breathe. With the turmoil going on with the Washington Redskins, chances are slim that Romo would sign with them.

[Featured Image by Tom Pennington/Getty Images]