The slow-burn saga of Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys won't end for quite some time. There's plenty of playoff drama remaining, if you believe Jerry Jones, and the offseason will be even hairier as the Cowboys try and determine what they want to do with the long-time starter turned backup.
Dak Prescott is the future, although Jones has flat said he wants to keep Romo around. The problem is Romo may not want to stay, if there are options for him to start elsewhere in the NFL. The most alluring landing spot, according to a report from NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, is Denver, and Romo reportedly considers the Broncos his "No. 1" choice for a new team come next season.
But there's a catch: Denver doesn't want to trade for him.
Was asked about #Cowboys' plans for Tony Romo in 2017. No secret, #Broncos are his No. 1 spot. I'm told DEN is not inclined to trade for him— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 15, 2017
That Romo wants to go to Denver is no huge surprise: the Broncos, along with the Cardinals, were one of two teams CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora mentioned as landing spots for Romo back in November. A need at quarterback, a bold GM unafraid to take chances on a veteran and a Super Bowl-caliber team are qualifications for Romo's landing spot. Denver fits the bill. (Arizona does, too, although it all hinges on Carson Palmer's situation.)
The Broncos also probably want Romo, in a perfect world. But actually pulling off a trade with a quarterback who has a huge cap hold is a little bit tougher.
Making all of this problematic is the actual trade of Romo. There will be teams that want to get him on the roster, no doubt about it. Denver has Paxton Lynch as the future but Romo would quickly pry open a brand new Super Bowl window just like Peyton Manning.
Plus, as Rapoport notes, the Cowboys might be unwilling to deal Romo. Jones has repeatedly said he wants to keep Romo around, even if that means going the "unorthodox" route of having tons of salary-cap money tied up in a backup quarterback.
The Cowboys might see Romo as the ultimate insurance policy for next season. If something happens to Dak Prescott and they trade Romo away, they're in full-blown panic mode. Keeping Romo around would ensure the ability to roll out a healthy, talented quarterback if something happens to the starter.
All of this is why Romo might ultimately end up requesting a release if he wants to play elsewhere. But it's also a lesson on how important a backup quarterback really can be for an NFL team.