One thing is for sure, the Dallas Cowboys cannot stand pat at the quarterback position for 2016. 2015 was a season derailed by bad health, and the idea that Tony Romo will be healthier at the age of 36 defies rational logic. Dallas will need a better solution for their backup quarterback situation at the very least. Matt Cassel is a free agent, and unless there was something behind the scenes no one is aware of, Kellen Moore didn't inspire anyone to think he's more than a stopgap measure.
One viable option that has been discussed here on CowboysHQ is not only finding a backup quarterback, but using the opportunity to secure a future franchise quarterback who will play backup while Romo still has a few years left of plus-quarterback play. The conventional way of achieving that result would come in drafting a quarterback in the first 34 picks, and likely in the Top 10. For Dallas' sake, the opportunity to draft this high and have their choice of quarterbacks isn't one they hope presents itself on a regular basis. In addition, franchise quarterbacks rarely hit the open market, so the draft is really the only place to acquire such talent, and at wholesale prices to boot.
Many observers would like Dallas to still try and find glory in the scrap bin, and sign a backup quarterback who can be a reclamation project. Those targets, of course, would be Johnny Manziel of Cleveland or Robert Griffin of Washington. Even retired Cowboys QB Troy Aikman has weighed in with his belief this is where Dallas will go:
"I believe as I sit here today that either Johnny Manziel or Robert Griffin III will be in Dallas as a backup (next year),"
The question then becomes, if Dallas does make a move such as this, does that put an end to the speculation the Cowboys could use the number four pick on a quarterback? What other options would they have? Outside of those two players, who are still under contract with their current teams, Dallas doesn't have much to choose from in the free agency department.
Sam Bradford wants big time money, and actually feels he deserves it. Brock Osweiler certainly has been waiting for an opportunity to start and will likely re-up in Denver like Kirk Cousins will in Washington. Ryan Fitzpatrick probably feels he can still compete for a starting position for a team that doesn't draft an heir this April. Outside of that, the cupboard is bare at free agent QB.
Dallas will find itself in a bind trying to find someone capable of not having the season crater if Romo misses significant amounts of time in 2016. Therein lies the rub. Unless a team is grooming an heir apparent, the backup quarterback scene is a wasteland, and the majority of backup quarterbacks will never be good enough to be starters on a regular basis.
It is pretty unheard of for a team to let a franchise quarterback walk out of their facilities. It is even stranger for someone yet to accomplish much of anything in the league to then catch on and become a centerpiece at a new locale. Kurt Warner established himself in St. Louis, winning a Super Bowl before Mike Martz jettisoned him in favor of Marc Bulger. After a stint in New York, Warner led the Arizona Cardinals to a Super Bowl appearance with a shotty defense.
Carson Palmer was a provem commodity in Cincinnati, but grew so tired of their losing ways he semi-retired before being traded to Oakland. The only player of note that was "discovered" after multiple years pro and underwhelming would be the Raiders Rich Gannon. Gannon spent 11 years in Minnesota, Kansas City and Washington before catching fire under Jon Gruden in Oakland. It's a rare feat and hardly what anyone should bet the ranch on with either Manziel or Griffin.
If they are simply bridge players, with the long odds of turning their careers around, that's fine. However betting on their shortcomings to solely be because of the bad situations they started in would be a fool's errand. Dallas just had this notion with Brandon Weeden, that he was bad simply because Cleveland is a poorly run franchise. How'd that work out?
There is plenty of substance in checking to see if another team's trash is your team's treasure. However, it would be a questionable strategy to eschew the opportunity to bring in a player you've identified as a franchise-caliber talent simply because you've invested in a reclamation project.