In just three weeks or so, NFL free agency will begin and perhaps the most intriguing name out there could be Tony Romo.
Faced with a salary cap hit of $24.7 million to keep him around, the Dallas Cowboys almost certainly will release Romo, unless freshly-minted Hall of Fame owner Jerry Jones gets sentimental and decides to keep him around as an expensive insurance backup to Dak Prescott.
If he gets cut, where does Romo go? It is an intriguing question and there are multiple answers. And in this quiz, all of the above is not an acceptable reply.
Let’s start with the absurd. The New York Jets have parted ways with Ryan Fitzpatrick and could use a veteran quarterback to tutor Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg. Neither of them seems ready for prime time, but Romo is not looking for this kind of job. He wants to be on a contender. The Jets have holes all over the place and are unlikely to compete in the AFC East until the Patriots move to some other division. So scratch this one.
If you consider extreme need, there are three other possibilities.
Cleveland won one game last season and needed three quarterbacks to get through the season. Would Romo be able to turn this train wreck around by himself? It’s unlikely and why would he even want to try? Scratch this one.
San Francisco won two games and is almost certain to part ways with Colin Kaepernick, who is not quite the same guy who took this team to the Super Bowl just a few years ago. He will be kneeling on somebody else’s sideline next season. So the vacancy will be there, but the 49ers will be in full rebuild mode under new coach Kyle Shanahan and will probably want to start fresh. Scratch this one, as well.
The Chicago Bears won three games last season, and, like the Browns went through three quarterbacks to manage that. After 11 seasons Jake Cutler’s time there seems done and a high profile name like Romo might be a good fit. But does he think so? Probably not since, like the Browns and 49ers, the Bears seem a bit removed from serious contention. Scratch this one, too.
It took the Los Angeles Rams nearly the entire season before unveiling last year’s No.1 draft choice, quarterback Jared Goff. He was less than sensational but after investing the top pick in the draft to get him, the Rams are sort of obligated to give the young man a long look. LA is a nice town but the team is far from competing for a title. A reconstruction project does not seem appealing. Scratch another.
Romo is coming off two injury-riddled seasons and will be 37 in April. He needs to win now, which leads to more logical options.
Denver seems intriguing. One year after winning the Super Bowl, the Broncos began the post-Peyton Manning era by missing the playoffs for the first time in six years. Trevor Siemian replaced Manning and played well enough. But Romo would bring some energy and he would benefit from a Denver defense that provides good field position to the offense. Mark this one as a maybe.
Kansas City is a winner but the Chiefs seem satisfied with Alex Smith. The same goes in Washington where Kirk Cousins has had his ups and downs but seems secure. Both are less likely landing spots.
There are, however, other attractive possibilities.
Houston had the best defense in the league last season and Arizona had the second best. The Texans gave a boatload of money to ex-Bronco Brock Osweiler, which turned out to be a bad investment. Romo would be a nice fit.
Arizona has an inviting target in Larry Fitzgerald, who led the league with 107 catches last season and an appealing defense. That would work for Romo.
Take your pick. Romo will soon, too.