When Tony Romo broke his collarbone in week two against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Dallas Cowboys could pretty much kiss their playoff hopes goodbye at that point–until Romo returned at least. The injury would keep him out eight weeks, proving once more how important the backup quarterback truly is for a contending NFL team.
Taking the reigns in Romo’s place was none other than former first round pick, Brandon Weeden. In his three starts, the Cowboys lost every game and Weeden will be benched in favor of Matt Cassel, following their bye week, reassuring Weeden’s ‘bust’ status. The Cowboys will rely on Cassel, who was acquired from the Bills in a trade, to resurrect their season.
While the Cowboys may have thought they had a capable backup in Brandon Weeden, they were proven wrong after just three starts. That makes you think, shouldn’t they invest in a more reliable option behind Romo? Not only for that purpose, but don’t you think it’s time for them to find their future successor to Tony Romo? It’s even worth arguing that Dallas missed the boat over the past two seasons. With Romo aging and dealing with some health issues, they opted not to take a quarterback in each of the last two drafts. Was that a mistake? With major instability under center with Romo down, it certainly seems so now.
Now at 35 years of age, Tony Romo clearly isn’t getting any younger. If we’ve learned anything from history, it indicates that he probably has another 2-3 good years left. Not only is age catching up to him, but he’s compiling a quietly large injury history these past two years. Before the broken collarbone, which will keep him out a total of 7-8 games this season, Romo also suffered back injuries the past two seasons–a herniated disc required surgery at the end of the 2013 season. He now has missed game time in each of the past three seasons.
Often times, we’ll see a team go after their “QB of the future” even when their current starter doesn’t have durability or age concerns. For instance, the Patriots have drafted a whopping seven quarterbacks since Tom Brady became the starter. How many have the Cowboys drafted in Tony Romo’s tenure? Just one–that being Stephen McGee back in 2009.
Granted, Brady has been around a lot longer than Romo, but it just goes to show the importance of a good backup/possible future replacement. Where did Aaron Rodgers come from? He was drafted in the 1st round by Green Bay back in 2005, despite the presence of future Hall of Famer Brett Favre on the roster. Rodgers sat on the bench for three years until becoming the full-time starter. While their first round selection didn’t have an impact until three years later, it was still a tremendously worthwhile investment that has paid dividends even a decade later.
The Cowboys definitely need to look into drafting their heir to Romo fairly early in the draft, whether it’s this year or next year. Romo can still play at a high level, but his days are numbered, and who knows how his body will hold up over the next few years.
The good news is Jerry Jones and co. aren’t completely oblivious to their situation. You’d think so based on having just Weeden to rely on, but Jones even admitted publicly before last year’s draft that finding Romo’s replacement was on the Cowboys’ list of things to do. Perhaps what we’re seeing now expedites that a bit.
It surely would be weird to see a new quarterback under center in Dallas anytime soon, but it’s bound to happen sooner than some may like to think.