On Thursday, the Washington Redskins traded three first round draft picks and this year’s second to get a potential franchise quarterback in Robert Griffin III, and that raises the question, what would it cost a team to get an actual franchise quarterback in Tony Romo?
He has never thrown for less that 26 touchdowns, has broken ten Cowboys records, is second all time in career quarterback rating and fourth in yards per attempt, so there isn’t any question that he’s a franchise quarterback and should stay in Dallas for the rest of career (despite what this writer says.)
But what if, throwing out salary cap so every team can compete, Jerry Jones completed his mental breakdown and decided that the only way to bring “flash” back the cowboys (other than telling Coach Garret to actually thrown the ball down the field) was to trade Romo and get a new quarterback?
The Redskins (and for that matter, the Saints in 1999) have shown that drafting a top five franchise player is a very expensive proposition, something that if Romo was traded (even though with his restructured contract he basically can’t) he should get a huge haul for the Cowboys. There’s no way a desperate team with some talent but no quarterback (think the Broncos or Cardinals) wouldn’t sell their next three years (especially in Arizona’s case) for a legitimate shot at the Superbowl, something that hasn’t happened for the Broncos in 13 seasons (14 this season) and hasn’t happened for the Cardinals-ever.
Both of the franchises technically have quarterbacks for the future, but somehow Tim “I am the 49%” Tebow or Kevin Kolb don’t seem to inspire much confidence in either of their front offices (if not their necessarily their fan bases.) If Tony Romo somehow hit the trading block, it doesn’t seem out of the question that both franchises (along with the Dolphins) would give arm and leg to get their first legitimate franchise quarterback in a generation, using a combination of draft picks and highly drafted rookies to sweeten the deal.
This would ultimately give the upper hand to Cleveland, seeing as the Broncos would never give their life away for one player-they’re too smart for that. The Browns, however, display a shocking inability to draft good players (in 5 drafts, only two first round picks are with the Browns. The Cowboys have all of their first round picks from the same time period on the team, and all are starters.) They also seem more likely to grasp at straws (like a 31 year old franchise quarterback) to boost sagging attendance. (The orange in the seats that the camera’s catch every Browns-Steelers aren’t fans: they are empty seats.)
So what would they give? They were unwilling to give a their second first round pick this year for “their guy” so it seems beyond unlikely that they would give anything more what the Reskins offered. Most likely, they would offer this year’s first round pick as well as next year’s along with this year’s second round. If Romo was 26, this is a completely different conversation, but the fact of the matter is he’s not: compared to the “new generation” of franchise quarterbacks, he’s relatively old.
A sleeper candidate in this scenario would have to be the Jaguars. They have no talent to trade and not much of a future, but they also have the worst attendance in the NFL and are desperate for fans. Currently, they’re looking at trading for Tim Tebow if the Broncos sign Peyton Manning, but 2/6 performances aren’t going to cut it, and would make a heinous receiving core even worse. On the other hand, Romo could take the receiving core to a whole other level- average- and put some life into a morgue of a franchise.
From a personnel standpoint, bringing in a 31 year old quarterback to wring 7 wins out of a mediocre franchise isn’t an intelligent decision, but from a business standpoint, attendance (and therefore income) trumps all. The Jags would probably give a Redskins-like level of compensation (a necessity to make up for the lack of talent.) Most importantly of all, however, is how does this impact the Cowboys?
The two extra picks would help with the lack of depth (which is actually caused by a terrible two year stretch of drafting) and let the Cowboys have the luxury of drafting with the future in mind. (As an example, they could draft Chandler Jones in the second round so they wouldn’t have to resign Anthony Spencer along with Stephon Gilmore instead of reaching for a safety to make up for not drafting Mark Barron in the first round.)
In the longer run, it could let them shore up-coming holes at outside linebacker, tight end and wide receiver (when Dez Bryant become a free agent) and bring them to a level of team depth not seen since the 90’s. This could all be possible without a salary cap, while Cowboys fans say “if only”.