The free agency saga of Tony Romo feels like it’s in the third month of high-octane rumor-mongering, and it hasn’t actually begun. Romo, the Cowboys long-time starter who lost his job to Dak Prescott in 2016, is expected to hit the open market, although there’s no real way to tell when he’ll actually be available. 

The market for Romo looks somewhat limited at this point, especially with Jerry Jones saying he and the quarterback have a “do right” rule about where Romo will land (read: no Redskins).

One team will very much be involved, though, as the Denver Broncos remain the front-runner for Romo’s services. That’s been the case for a while now, and now, according to Mike Klis of 9 News in Denver, GM John Elway and the team are “ready to pursue” Romo.

But, as Klis writes, there are some issues the Broncos face in securing Romo’s services. For starters, there will be competition, primarily in the form of the Houston Texans

One agent source also told 9News that Romo’s preferred choice is the Broncos. Denver is not the only team expected to pursue Romo, though. There was buzz at the NFL Combine the Houston Texans would also be interested, but would they give up on Brock Osweiler after paying him $21 million in 2016, his first year with the team, and another $16 million guaranteed this season?

There’s also the matter of the timing here. Jones, in speaking with Dallas media, continued to a) break his own rule on talking about Tony Romo and b) insist that it’s possible for the Cowboys to keep Romo on the roster in 2017.

Financially/technically it’s doable. The Cowboys could retain Romo because they’re already taking a huge hit from his presence on someone else’s roster ($19.6 million if they cut him, $12.7 milion if they designate him a post-June 1 cut). Keeping Romo would cost $24.7 million in salary-cap space.

So it’s doable, but it’s not a realistic move, given the needs (pass rusher, cornerback, wide receiver) the Cowboys have elsewhere on a roster expected to compete for a title in 2017.

That fine line may be what causes the Cowboys to delay releasing Romo, and according to an NFL Network report, Dallas isn’t in a rush to unload the quarterback

Without a roster bonus clause in his contract, the Cowboys can hold off on making a decision when it comes to Romo in the hopes of getting some kind of compensation back from a team in a trade. That would also ensure the ability to control where Romo goes in his next stop. 

On the other hand, that $6 million in roster space could become pretty attractive pretty quickly when the Cowboys are out there in free agency, trying to find some cap space to sign some guys to fill roster holes.