Tampering is a serious issue in the NFL. General managers and coaches have to be very careful in choosing the correct words when speaking publicly about a player under contract with another team.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/cowboys/story/1766135-elway-s-lie-in-romo-cowbo... And yet, any time Elway has been asked about Romo on the record, he has fallen back on his go-to refrain, just like he did at the NFL Owners' Meetings on Monday.
“No," Elway said. "Same old thing. He’s still under contract for the Cowboys.”
9NEWS' Mike Klis published a report on Sunday, after getting Elway on the record about Romo. In it, Elway said that from the time he arrived in Phoenix for the meetings, up until his chat with Klis, that Romo's name "never came up".
Infer from that what you will. Mike Fisher, a Dallas insider and Publisher of our Scout Dallas Cowboys website, Cowboys HQ, is dubious about Elway's comments. Fisher notes that while Stephen Jones has been in Phoenix for days, Jerry Jones didn't arrive until Sunday.
As Fisher points out in his piece, Jones is Dallas' ultimate decision maker. Thus, any earnest trade negotiations would have to go through him.
We have compelling reason to believe that the Broncos have interest in Romo. Everything we've heard from our NFL sources and buzz from around the league has made that rather clear. The Broncos still have $20.6 million in available cap space, and the rumor has been floated recently that they've saved — and earmarked — a chunk of that money for the contingency that Romo gets released.
“Like we’ve said, we really feel good about the two young ones that we have," Elway said. "Trevor did a good job for us last year and Paxton was young. The plan is to stay the course there and see what’s available in the draft. So we’ll go from there. We like both. Paxton was a first-rounder last year for a reason. Then Trevor came in and played very well. It will be a great competition between them in the spring.”
Stay the course and see what's available in the draft? I take that to mean that if nothing is jogged loose during the NFL Owners' meetings, the Broncos will keep their options open until the Draft, with relation to Romo.
Draft day is often when things heat up in the NFL trade market. The Cowboys have held onto Romo this long, what's another month?
My take is this. Elway is continuing to posture. Of course he's not going to get into any hot water with the league by commenting on Romo publicly. But that doesn't mean the Broncos aren't interested in Romo. I have every reason to believe that they are.
In the short term, my gut tells me that Elway and company are committed to this Mexican standoff with Jones and the Cowboys brass. Elway knows that at some point, Dallas will have to release Romo, because they're not about to risk a quarterback controversy between Romo and the heir apparent Dak Prescott — to say nothing of Romo's 2017 cap hit.
And so, the Broncos will continue to put themselves in the right position to pursue Romo when that eventuality takes place, and they'll save as much face publicly as they can in the meantime. The only caveat to this scenario is if Houston decides to bite the bullet and make a trade for Romo.
At that point, the Broncos will bow out and focus on developing their young quarterbacks with the plausible deniability that it was the plan from the get-go.
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Chad Jensen is the Publisher of Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @ChadNJensen.