Earlier this week Nick Kendell wrote an article about why he thinks the Broncos should sign Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. After the hiring the coaching staff, this now really has become maybe the biggest topic of conversation in all of Denver.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1750918-is-tony-romo-worth-it-for... To Romo, or not to Romo? That is the question. Both sides truly have an argument to be made. I lean towards the side of not bringing him in. I won't be upset if Elway does decide to pull the trigger, but I will definitely be holding my breath every time I see Romo drop back and take a hit.
I understand the arguments for why the Denver Broncos would be stupid not to at least consider Romo. The last time he was healthy for a full season he was playing like a top-five QB in this league. You pair that ability with this defense and there is a chance that ends in a fourth Super Bowl championship for the franchise.
Having a great QB really does make everything else on the team just look that much better. The Manning years spoiled Broncos fans for two and a half seasons. When you look around the league and you see the teams that are consistently in the running for the Super Bowl, they all have that franchise QB at the helm.
The first reason not to bring in Tony Romo is that he may not be that same quarterback from a few seasons ago. He might have hit that wall that we saw Manning hit, unfortunately. Since his first injury he has had a 60-percent completion rate, only three touchdowns, five interceptions, and a QB Rating of 61.2.
Now this is such a small sample size it's tough to see if this will be his norm moving forward or if this is what you can come to expect from here on out. I’m not a huge fan of what I saw of him being scared at times to step into his throws and spending a great deal of time throwing off his back foot.
This caused his accuracy to be all over the place, missing some wide open wide receivers. There were about five deep ball passes where receivers were running wide open and instead of throwing them into space, he threw the receiver right back into the defender.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1751650-kapri-bibbs-renaissance-man He also still has that gunslinger attitude about him. While the Cowboys needed this because of their lackluster defense and the talent in general around Romo not always being top caliber, that isn’t the case in Denver. They have a defense that can go win games pretty much by themselves, so the worst thing that can happen to them is a QB that turns the ball over at inopportune moments.
I don’t want to get into the reputation of Romo in critical moments, which has been overblown, but I’m also not a big fan of the fact that in about a two-game span he has thrown five interceptions that were not pretty. I’ll get into this more as we go on, but it is not easy to coach a player not to have that aggressive attitude. Broncos fans should prepare for the fact, if Romo is signed, that even if he stays healthy, there will be games he will cause you to want to pull your hair out.
This is how I go about free agency, the draft, and any other offseason decisions on players: I start with the talent before the contract situation or even the type of fit they would bring to the Broncos. Those come after evaluating the talent level of the player in general. Romo brings an aggressive attitude.
That sounds like a breath of fresh air after this past season watching the quarterbacks consistently throw short of the sticks as to not make a mistake. There are times I watch Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers move around and turn a negative play into a positive one and just think “man, I wish the Broncos had that.”
In his younger years, Cowboys fans cheered Romo's style of play. Those types of quarterbacks just don’t hold up like that of a Manning or Brady. Injuries are not just a matter of if, but when. Even this past season, Wilson was hobbled for most of the season and Rodgers was limping by the end of the year.
They played through the injuries, but I’m sure even some of their fans are wondering how much longer those two can keep holding up when they take those extra hits. This mentality can't be coached out of these types of players, so that means fans should always expect a little higher risk of injury. Romo is going to take hits and some of those are not going to be on the offensive line. I don’t think he can hold up for an entire season any longer.
Since his first injury in 2015, Romo has taken 14 total hits/sacks. Three injuries in a very short span. Last year against the Patriots, the Broncos hit Tom Brady 20 times in one game. He is a passer that works hard to get the ball out in a hurry, so imagine in that game how many more hits a guy like Romo would take if he doesn’t try to get rid of the football in 2.5 seconds.
Of those 14 hits that he took in that span, half of them came with him holding onto the ball longer than the internal clock that coaches try to pound into the mindset of every quarterback is meant to last.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1681565-5-reasons-you-should-go-p... There was one particular play that really sums up the biggest reason for the Broncos not to sign Tony Romo. He dropped back and after a few seconds saw that no one was open. The defense had left the middle of the field somewhat open for him to scramble and pick up some yards and as he takes off running he sees the inside linebacker running full speed, straight at him.
Most QBs have the mindset to slide feet first and make sure to protect themselves. Romo instead chooses to lower his shoulder and take on a linebacker. On top of that, he had a defensive end chasing him from behind, who then sandwiched. These are the unnecessary hits that just make it impossible to see him lasting the full season. This is also why, even behind the best offensive line in football, he still found himself taking lots of hits throughout the game. It won’t be any better in Denver.
Money, Money, Money
Getting beyond the play on the field we of course come down to the financial side of things. There are lots of rumors circulating about what it would take to get Romo in a Broncos uniform. Some believe he would take a nice discount to come and play for a championship-caliber team. While this may be true, what does a discount really look like?
When the Broncos brought in Manning, the most they could get him to sacrifice was $4 million. Romo on the open market can probably still get top-10 QB money. The top-12 quarterbacks in the NFL all make over $20 million right now.
So are we looking at $16 million? Will he come on a contract that is incentive-laden to help ease the cap number? This is one of the tougher parts of the equation, because we just have no clue what it would take to get him. If it is in that $16 million-range, that is potentially worth two high-quality offensive linemen or at least one defensive starter that could maybe take the defense back to that 2015 level. Hard to justify that type of money if you doubt that Romo can last an entire season.
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There is one final, big piece to the puzzle. We have heard how much Elway truly does love the potential of Paxton Lynch. Rumor has it that most of the coaching moves this offseason were made with him in mind. If they are truly trying to give him every opportunity to win the starting job, then bringing in a big-name free agent at the position doesn’t exactly fit with the narrative we have heard so far.
Maybe they see him practice over the next couple of months and decide he isn’t ready. That is the one option that would make me really want the Broncos to consider Tony Romo. If they like what they see or think the coaches can really develop him in a short period then I would rather see Elway and company invest that money in building talent around one of these young quarterbacks.
At this point, there's risk either way. Maybe the young guys cannot take that next step and we waste another year of a great defensive unit. Romo maybe does show that the injuries were just a fluke thing that he has put behind him and goes to another team and has a great season.
The safe decision is spending money to build up the team around these young quarterbacks and let them (hopefully) shine with an improved line and a running game. Then, continue to build up this great defense and keep them an elite unit that can keep the Broncos in every game this upcoming season.
Carl Dumler is an Analyst for Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @supermanlives4.
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