The Denver Broncos, viewing themselves as a “key piece’’ away from true Super Bowl contention, will pursue quarterback Tony Romo if he is released by the Dallas Cowboys, two NFL sources tell CowboysHQ.com.
Denver, said one source, will “go hard after’’ the Dallas veteran, who is likely to depart the Cowboys in the coming weeks due mostly to the ascent of heir Dak Prescott.
Assorted angles and wrinkles to the story:
*New Broncos coach Vance Joseph is the driving force here, not his boss, John Elway. Young incumbent and Paxton Lynch — the guy Elway used a first-round draft pick on a year ago — are not viewed by Joseph as being “title-ready.’’
Joseph’s review of Lynch? "Is he ready?’’ he said. “I’m not sure.’’
*Elway, on the record on the subject on Wednesday at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, said, “We are open to anything.’’
*A source indicates that Dallas owner Jerry Jones and even Romo himself — who has a third son due to him and wife Candice at the end of August — “fantasize’’ about a way for the QB to remain with the Cowboys, with whom he’s played his entire career.
It is financial do-able. But cooler heads here inside The Star in Frisco understand how the presence of two “star’’ QBs in the same locker room is untenable.
*Romo has a $14 million salary due in 2017. One source said the Broncos would want to make that manageable. And if Denver means to “massage’’ the money in a way that gives Romo a chance at $14 mil but also gives his new team bang for its buck, that can be done, as we write here.
*A new team would be wise to negotiate an incentive-based contract centering on Romo’s weekly presence on the 46-man roster. That would give insurance to a club concerned about injury to and frailty of a 37-year-old QB.
*The Cowboys, as of Wednesday midday, have not provided Romo the freedom to seek his own deal. It might behoove them to do so in order to create a bidding war for the player’s services that could net Dallas something in trade. But Romo is under no obligation to help here, and indeed, would be hurting his new team by arranging for them to give up valuable pieces for him.
*Neither Romo nor agent Tom Condon can legally visit with other teams until either they’ve been given permission from Dallas or until he’s released. That hasn’t stopped the Romo camp, however, from floating trial balloons like this one involving the Redskins.
*The newness of Joseph and his offensive coordinator Mike McCoy would allow Romo to be involved in the design of an offense that fits him. That doesn’t make up for the Broncos’ weak offensive line … but it’s a start.
*In the simplest terms, Dallas’ divorce from Romo will save $5.1 million of cap room. Want more intricate detail on Romo and the money and the cap? Click here for a Cowboys "Cap Hell'' Blueprint.
*The Cowboys keep denying that the front office has met with Romo. They are fibbing. (Our scoop on the "Come-To-Joneses'' meeting is here.) Coach Jason Garrett, who does say, "There's no question in our minds that Tony Romo can still play at a high level,’’ is fibbing if he is additionally suggesting that there is no cooling in the relationship between coach and QB. We will put it this way: Romo and Garrett are less likely than ever to be seen hanging out at college basketball games, as they did so frequently in recent offseason.
*The Broncos’ “go-for-it’’ interest in Romo obviously does not exclude other suitors. Dallas would love the aforementioned bidding war. The Houston Texans might be among the many teams that want a look here — and we wouldn’t doubt if teams and the Romo camp see benefit to the player taking a “Recruiting Tour Of America,’’ and letting teams like the 49ers and Rams have a look-see, too.
*March 9 is the start of the new league year. That’s when the Cowboys and all other teams need to be cap-compliant, and it’s when systems need to start being installed and it’s when Tony Romo will likely be able to pick himself up, dust himself off and start all over again.