Here are five possible targets the Dallas Cowboys could look to get in exchange for trading veteran quarterback Tony Romo in the offseason.
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Jan 1, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) walks off the field after a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. The Philadelphia Eagles won 27-13. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
In the NFL, trades are rare. Player for player trades are even more infrequent. For example, in 2016, there were a total of eight trades made last offseason between January 1st through April 20th. Only one of them involved a player for player (and a draft pick) swap. The Dallas Cowboys did not commit a single trade in 2016, not even during the draft (although they attempted to).
Famously, the Cowboys were part of the largest trade in NFL history back in October of 1989. Otherwise known as the Great Train Robbery, Dallas traded star running back Herschel Walker and four draft picks to the Minnesota Vikings for five players and eight draft selections. That trade formed the foundation of the Cowboys dynasty in the 1990’s, in which they won three Super Bowls in four years.
The Cowboys will almost certainly be attempting another major trade this upcoming offseason. A preseason injury to veteran quarterback Tony Romo opened the door for first-year back-up Dak Prescott. And the rookie never gave the job back.
Prescott finished the season throwing for 3,667 yards, 23 touchdowns and four interceptions. The mobile quarterback also ran for 282 yards and six scores. Prescott’s season ending QBR was 81.7, the third highest in the NFL. Only behind the Atlanta Falcons’ Matt Ryan and the New England Patriots’ Tom Brady.
With Prescott secured as the Cowboys quarterback of the future, Romo has been regulated to the bench. Now healthy, the 36-year old former starter made his debut last Sunday in Dallas’ final game of the regular season. Romo played a single offensive series and completed three of his four passes for 29 yards and a touchdown in the defeat to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Following Romo’s short, but successful debut, The Landry Hat’s own Jimmy Long speculated on what the veteran’s value might be worth in a possible trade now. I encourage you to read that article here: What is Tony Romo’s trade value now?
As for this story, I’d like to focus on possible players the Cowboys could received in exchange for Tony Romo this offseason. In the following pages, I will list five targets based on their team’s need at the quarterback position, and Dallas’ needs in the upcoming season.
Dec 17, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson (91) hits the arm of Miami Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore (8) after he throws the ball at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports
Cowboys get Sheldon Richardson, DE
Jets get Tony Romo, QB
Player Trade Target: Sheldon Richardson Current Team: New York Jets Age: 26 HT/WT: 6-3, 294 Experience: 4 seasons Contract Left: 1 year 2017 Salary: $8.069 million 2016 Stats: 62 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 pds, 1 FF
Trade Analysis: The New York Jets apparently tried to trade Sheldon Richardson to the Dallas Cowboys right before the trade deadline earlier this season. But their alleged asking price, a first round pick, was simply too high a price.
The Jets are likely to try and trade off Richardson again this offseason. With New York’s quarterback situation in a shambles, and head coach Todd Bowles seemingly on the hot seat, a move to get Romo seems viable.
Richardson is a former first round selection in 2013 who was named Defensive Rookie of the Year. After posting 67 total tackles and 8.0 sacks the following year, he was named to his first and only Pro Bowl.
Richardson’s addition to the Cowboys defensive line would give them a Pro Bowl-level run stopper who could also create more opportunities for Dallas’ young pass rushers.
Oct 30, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; New York Jets running back Matt Forte (22) gets tackled by Cleveland Browns outside linebacker Emmanuel Ogbah (90) during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Jets won 31-28. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
Cowboys get Emmanuel Ogbah, DE
Browns get Tojny Romo, QB
Player Trade Target: Emmanuel Ogbah Current Team: Cleveland Browns Age: 23 HT/WT: 6-3, 275 Experience: 1 year Contract Left: 3 years (rookie deal) 2017 Salary: $750K 2016 Stats: 53 total tackles, 5.5 sacks, 3 pds
Trade Analysis: Former Oklahoma State defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah was reportedly the Dallas Cowboys target in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft. But the Cleveland Browns snatched him up with the 32nd overall pick in the draft, two selections prior to the Cowboys pick. Dallas would go on to select Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith instead.
If their interest in Ogbah is legit, then Dallas could try to trade for the talented young pass rusher. The main obstacle to any possible exchange though is the fact he plays for the Browns. Cleveland clearly has a need at the quarterback position, but it’s unlikely Romo would want to play for a franchise that just went 1-15. If Tony has any say about where he is traded, which I believe he does, than the Browns are an unlikely landing spot.
Still, Ogbah would be the kind of trade target Dallas likely covets. A young player whom they’ve apparently had a previous interest in, and someone who could bolster their defense.
Oct 16, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans wide receiver Braxton Miller (13) returns the opening kickoff against the Indianapolis Colts during the first quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports
Cowboys get Braxton Miller, WR & a 2017 Fourth Round Selection
Texans get Tony Romo, QB
Player Trade Target: Braxton Miller Current Team: Houston Texans Age: 24 HT/WT: 6-1, 205 Experience: 1 year Contract Left: 3 years (rookie deal) 2017 Salary: $550K 2016 Stats: 15 recs, 99 yards, 1 TD
Trade Analysis: In order for this trade to work, the Houston Texans would likely have to find some way out of quarterback Brock Osweiler‘s massive four-year, $72 million contract he signed last March. Assuming they can, the Texans likely feel they are one franchise quarterback away from a deep playoff run. Romo seems to fit that bill perfectly.
Last offseason, the Cowboys coaching staff had a chance to work with Ohio State’s Braxton Miller during the Senior Bowl. Arguably the most overall talented player there, Miller was still raw as he was still attempting to make the transition from quarterback to wide receiver. But he’s athleticism and upside were off the charts.
This season in Houston, Miller’s rookie year was cut short due to hamstring issues and a shoulder injury. Described as a multifaceted offensive weapon, the former Buckeye could be the Cowboys answer to a legitimate deep threat that could take the top off of defenses.
Although Miller is a developmental player, his upside combined with the Cowboys knowledge of the player makes him a possible trade target.
Nov 1, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos cornerback Bradley Roby (29) during the first quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Cowboys get Bradley Roby, CB
Broncos get Tony Romo, QB
Player Trade Target: Bradley Roby Current Team: Denver Broncos Age: 24 HT/WT: 5-11, 194 Experience: 3 years Contract Left: 1 year + team option 2017 Salary: $1.018 million 2016 Stats: 39 tackles, 8 pds, 2 ints, 2 TDs
Trade Analysis: Going into next season, the Dallas Cowboys have several questions at the cornerback position. Starting corner Morris Claiborne is a free agent. Brandon Carr is scheduled to be paid $10 million in the final year of his contract. And a soon to be 30-year Orlando Scandrick doesn’t appear to be the player he once was.
So welcome in cornerback Bradley Roby. The 2014 first round pick out of Ohio State currently plays for the Denver Broncos. A team that has been rumored as a possible landing spot for Tony Romo for some time.
Roby is a quality cornerback that has been stuck behind starters Aqib Talib and Chris Harris in Denver. The 24-year old playmaker, who scored two defensive touchdowns this season despite limited playing time, could flourish in Dallas as a potential starter opposite rookie Anthony Brown.
Oct 20, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) is sacked by Chicago Bears linebacker Leonard Floyd (94) during the second quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Cowboys get Leonard Floyd, DE
Jets get Tony Romo, QB & a 2017 Third Round Selection
Player Trade Target: Leonard Floyd Current Team: Chicago Bears Age: 24 HT/WT: 6-3, 240 Experience: 1 year Contract Left: 3 years with option (rookie deal) 2017 Salary: $1.16 M 2016 Stats: 33 tackles, 7.0 sacks, 2 pds, 1 sfty, 1 FF
Trade Analysis: Former Georgia linebacker Leonard Floyd was the second-best-rated linebacker on the Dallas Cowboys draft board according to DallasCowboys.com football analyst Bryan Broaddus. There were actually some rumors prior to the 2016 NFL Draft that the Cowboys would consider drafting Floyd with their fourth overall selection in the first round.
Instead, Dallas selected Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliot and Floyd fell to the Chicago Bears five picks later. But the 24-year old rookie proved himself to be an excellent pass rusher for the Bears in his first year.
But Chicago needs a quarterback. And Dallas has an extra one. But are the Bears desperate enough to trade their 2016 first round pick and a budding defensive star for a 36-year old Romo? Likely not. But throw in a third round pick, and maybe that changes things.
For Dallas, a player like Floyd instantly upgrades their defense. And we know the team was high on the player going into the draft. So it seems like a perfect marriage.