Broncos will 'discuss' Tony Romo in free agency, but there are two stumbling blocks

Don’t ever count out John Elway, especially before the fourth quarter’s even begun. It might not even be halftime when it comes to the pursuit of Tony Romo, either, with the Cowboys quarterback expected to be available in free agency when Dallas inevitably cuts him.

But even that isn’t a certainty. There is nothing known about Romo’s future other than he wants to keep playing football. In all likelihood he’ll be gone, because Jerry Jones knows he wants to compete and competition isn’t available in Dallas thanks to the emergence of Dak Prescott.

The Broncos are a logical destination, but the Romo rumors have cooled since it was reported they wouldn’t want to trade for Romo

Now that it appears Romo is likely to be released and not traded, the stage is set for a fascinating free-agent melee on par with Peyton Manning’s departure from the Colts a few years ago.

According to Mike Klis of 9 News in Denver, the Broncos expect to listen and remain interested.

“If Romo becomes available through his release from the Dallas Cowboys – a transaction many observers deem unavoidable because of his monstrous, if non-guaranteed, remaining contract, plus the team’s proven young replacement in Dak Prescott – the Broncos are expected to at least discuss whether to pursue the veteran quarterback,” Klis writes.

Since Romo largely looked awesome in his only on-field action of 2016, it seems safe to say that he’s healthy for right now. Anyone signing him has to be aware of his injury history, which includes playing in parts of just five games over the past two seasons. That just comes with the territory, especially if the team in question, like the Broncos, is weak along the offensive line. 

Here are the two main issues with a potential Romo-Broncos marriage, at least from the Broncos’ side of things.

One, there is the money. Denver has a lot of cash invested on the defensive side of the ball and is in need of help at other positions. Romo is a quarterback and quarterbacks cost money. According to Klis, if Romo’s cost looks like it will be north of “$13 million per year, the Broncos may not compete.” 

Romo could easily command $13 million per year -- just look at the Brock Osweiler contract with the Texans from last offseason. Osweiler was a weird Hail Mary throw; Romo is an immediate game changer. 

Two, there is the matter of Paxton Lynch on the roster. Elway drafted him with a first-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, ostensibly naming him the heir apparent to the Broncos offense while also potentially giving him time to grow into the position (remember: Lynch sat for a year at Memphis before emerging as a monster at the college level). 

Signing Romo would probably push Lynch becoming the starting quarterback for Denver into the fourth year of his contract, assuming Romo signs and plays for at least two years. 

Therefore signing Romo is sort of an indication that Elway doesn’t believe Lynch can become “the guy” for Denver, at least not immediately. Passing on Romo is a gamble on Lynch, assuming the money is right. 

Which means that a Romo-Broncos reunion is basically like two people walking down a tightrope and hoping to meet in the middle. That doesn’t make it different than any other possible suitors, it just makes it difficult to determine exactly where Romo is heading.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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