Denver Broncos: Tony Romo Will Not Be the 2017 Starting Quarterback

Sure, Tony Romo following Elway and Manning’s lead into the sunset is a nice thought, but that’s all it is. A thought. Tony Romo to Denver doesn’t make a lot of sense.

I see what you’re doing sports world. I get it.

But stop it.

It’s not happening.

Tony Romo is not going to play for the Denver Broncos. There are a lot of reasons why, but let’s start with the obvious: why even take the risk?

John Elway already sacrificed the 94th pick in the draft to move up and draft Paxton Lynch in the first round. He is very clearly the future unless Trevor Siemian gets his Tom Brady on.

The Broncos are going through all the growing pains of a team playing 1st and 2nd year QB’s, but if this is the worst it will get, the future looks bright for both of them. Signing Tony Romo blunts their progress, and at least one of them clearly would have to go.

Now this is where it does get a bit intriguing, because the Broncos do have holes to fill and having 3 potential starting QB’s in a league with roughly 16 of those is like owning a California gold mining company in the late 1840’s. It is starting to seem like the Broncos will eventually trade one of their young quarterbacks, so why not do it now?

Why not trade Paxton Lynch for something similar to the value of the 26th and 94th picks in the draft? They may be able to pick up a badly needed three down interior lineman and another weapon in the passing game, or they could upgrade the offensive line. It’s not the worst idea in the world…

…until we get to the practical reason why Tony Romo will not be the starting quarterback for the 2017 Denver Broncos. As the great Method Man once said: dolla dolla bill ya’ll.

Romo is too much financially for the Broncos

Here is the remainder of Tony Romo’s contract that the Broncos would be on the hook for (ages 37, 38, and 39):

2017: $14M

2018: $19.5M

2019: $20.5M

If you’ve never seen an albatross, now you have. Year two and three of that deal are nightmares. Romo would have to be a top 5 QB to justify the move.

To be fair, there is a chance that he could be part of the tier of QB’s beneath Brady, Rodgers, and Newton, but the odds are against him.

If you put Romo’s and Drew Brees’ stats next to each other, there are a lot more similarities than you would expect. However, even if there is a chance that he could produce at that level, the Broncos shouldn’t take it. It would fly in the face of the lessons learned from one of the franchise’s darkest days.

Impact on current roster

Denver traveled to New Jersey in 2014 with their fancy fast paced offense and got pancaked by a ferocious secondary and an efficient quarterback on a really cheap deal. In hindsight, this was the best thing to happen to Elway as an NFL executive.

This narrative happens all the time in sports, whether it be Michael Jordan against the Pistons, the Avalanche versus the Red Wings, or Pedro Martinez against the Yankees. It’s essentially the Broncos motto: iron sharpens iron. Teams emulate what works, especially in the uber-copycat league that is the NFL.

His first correction was to construct a defense in that same mold; hence the acquisitions of Aqib Talib, Boss Ward, Darian Stewart, and the drafting of Bradley Roby. This offseason, Elway reached a fork in the road on how to go about the second part of his plan.

Unless he had a prime-time quarterback like Manning, Elway planned to play one on the cheap, just like Seattle. That way, he could beef up the rest of the roster.

Given how much NFL QB’s make and the uncertainty around most of their play, having a good one on a cheap deal is a massive competitive advantage.

Broncos Benefit From A Least Expensive Quarterback

Denver could have gone the route of Buffalo, Miami, the New York Jets, Detroit, Philadelphia (now Minnesota’s problem), Chicago, Cincinnati, and now Houston; paying top 10 money to a quarterback outside the top 10 but who can sometimes play like a top 10 quarterback, but mostly not, but ow, please, no, no…I want to get off this ride.

When you look at the teams on that list, with a grand total of 0 Super Bowl titles since 1986, why in the world would you follow their lead?

There is a ton of nonsense surrounding any NFL contract negotiation, and most statements are leaked by agents or team executives in order to gain leverage over one another. However, one thing is crystal clear in hindsight: Elway and Osweiler didn’t see eye to eye on the numbers.

Either the Broncos took a “long, long time” to make an offer, or more likely, a “long, long time” to make a serious one. Osweiler played like a backup quarterback last year, and that’s probably the type of money Denver offered him.

He wanted to be paid per the narrative of his stabilizing force in the wake of the worst stretch of Peyton Manning’s career (plus some legitimately good 4th quarter performances in the two biggest games of the season), and not for his entire production taken in a vacuum.

The truth of the matter is that Manning was so astonishingly terrible for those first 8 games that literally anything else with a pulse would have been an upgrade. Osweiler wasn’t bad, but he wasn’t good either.

If Osweiler wasn’t going to play on the cheap, then Elway would just draft a QB and play the 7th rounder who a lot of folks thought outplayed Brock last preseason.

Conclusion

I’ve been critical of Siemian, but he is light years ahead of where Osweiler is right now. Paxton Lynch’s accuracy has been a serious issue during his short stint, but his speed and arm strength are a rare combination that defenses have struggled with.

Tony Romo will play somewhere other than Dallas next year, likely for less money than he’s currently signed for, but it certainly won’t be in Denver.

This is year one of at least a three-year plan, and Elway isn’t going to deviate away from it for a guy who’s one more serious shoulder injury away from the broadcast booth.

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