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Tony Romo, the Dallas Cowboys starting quarterback since 2006, went down in the preseason with a back injury. Romo suffered a compression fracture in his back and was projected to miss 6 to 10 weeks of the season.
Injuries have been a consistent factor in Romo’s career with the Cowboys. Since 2006, Romo has only played a full 16 game season 5 times. However, despite having yet to win a Super Bowl with the Cowboys, Romo is a great quarterback. Romo’s completion percentage for his career is 65.3%, with 34,154 passing yards, 247 passing touchdowns, and an overall 97.1 quarterback rating (stats according to pro-football-reference.com).
Romo’s best season actually came just two years ago in 2014. He threw for 3,705 yards and 34 touchdowns, with a stellar completion percentage of 69.9%. The Cowboys would end up losing to the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round of the playoffs; dashing the Cowboys hopes of a Super Bowl run.
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Considering Romo’s age (36), the 2014 season could arguably have been his last shot at getting to a Super Bowl. With Romo going down the next season in 2015 and the Cowboys quarterback woes, a solution was needed. Enter Dak Prescott, drafted in the 4th round with the 135th pick of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. Prescott was drafted as a precaution so that in case Romo were to go down with an injury again, the Cowboys would at least have a decent back up.
Fast forward to the Cowboys’ third preseason game of 2016; Romo goes down, projected to miss 6-10 weeks, and Prescott is thrust into the starting role in his first professional NFL season. After losing a close game in Dallas against the New York Giants, Prescott and the Cowboys have gone on to win their next 6 games. The last time Romo won 6 in a row was 2014; before that Romo won 7 in a row in 2007.
With Prescott playing better than anticipated and Romo on the verge of coming back, the Cowboys have a quarterback problem on their hands.
The Cowboys should trade Romo and possibly another player, and build around their young core. Romo is 36 and his best years are behind him. Dak Prescott and rookie running back Ezekiel Elliot, currently the NFL’s leading rusher through week 8, are two electric franchise players. Rebuilding around those two would, ultimately, not take long.
When Romo is ready to come back the Cowboys front office will give him his starting job back despite Prescott’s stellar play. That’s the long and short of it. Whether or not Romo gets a short leash is a mystery at this point.
Cowboys GM Jerry Jones feels as though Romo is a player who has earned the privilege of starting and retiring on his own terms. But Tony Romo is not a guaranteed Hall of Famer like Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. The Cowboys don’t need to start Romo just because he’s Romo. This is the time to be practical with team decisions. Build and prepare for the future of the franchise. And that future needs to be built around Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot.