Jerry Jones: Cowboys don't need to draft a QB in 2016

The upside to going 4-12: you get to pick fourth overall in the upcoming NFL Draft. This is the good news for the Cowboys who, five months ago, were favorites to win the NFC East and make a deep playoff run. Instead, franchise quarterback Tony Romo broke his collarbone -- twice -- and the trio of Brandon Weeden, Matt Cassel and Kellen Moore played pretty much like we all knew they would.

So it's not surprising that much of the talk in recent weeks has been about the team shoring up the quarterback position. Romo will be 36 in April and the Cowboys need to find and groom his eventual replacement. But owner and general manager Jerry Jones insists that the team doesn't have to draft a quarterback with the No. 4 pick -- or any of the other subsequent selections, either.

"There are many options," Jones said, via "There's free agency ... We have to (draft a QB) to do what? We have to win a Super Bowl next year? Do we have to compete for a Super Bowl in the future? Do you have to have it in place after this draft? There's no have-to here, in my mind, because we have the luxury of having Romo here for three, four, five more years."

No one believes Romo will be playing when he's 41, but it's reasonable to think he has at least two more years left -- if he can avoid injuries.

Either way, Jones probably isn't joking when he says free agency is an option; he's on record as loving Johnny Manziel, whose tenuous relationship with the Browns could end any time now. Jones has also said he'd be open to a young quarterback available this offseason who might come with some risk.

Jerry Jones has options when it comes to finding a young quarterback. (USATSI)
Jerry Jones has options when it comes to finding a young quarterback. (USATSI)

"Let's just put it like this: We all would be aware that to bet on [Kellen] Moore for our backup quarterback has elements of risk to it," Jones said earlier this month during an appearance on 105.3 The Fan, a CBS Sports Radio station. "I'm not so sure that that's any riskier than anything you would do with a decision in the future. On the other hand, what would enhance me taking risk is a big, bigger upside. If that upside is there, that ol' risk-reward situation, then yeah. This is as far as we're going to go here now with this, because I don't want to get involved in any type of tampering situation. We'd take some risk."

Reading between the lines: Manziel and Robert Griffin III are on the Cowboys' radar -- in fact, Hall of Famer and former Cowboys great Troy Aikman would be more surprised if one of them weren't on Dallas' roster in 2016.

"I believe as I sit here today that either Johnny Manziel or Robert Griffin III will be in Dallas as a backup (next year)," Aikman told's Maggie Gray this week.

Back on Earth, the Cowboys are almost certainly weighing their options when it comes to drafting a quarterback fourth overall.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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