Tony Romo: The Greatest Overrated QB In The NFL
By Emin Avakian
The early days of the offseason have already been unkind to the Dallas Cowboys.
Last week, fears that the backbone of its defense could be lost for an extended time were confirmed with news that LB Sean Lee was to be placed on season-ending IR with a torn ACL, further weakening a suspect group that saw DeMarcus Ware sign with the Denver Broncos in March.
That leaves Barry Church, George Selvie, Jason Hatcher and company to help improve a defense that allowed 27 points and 415.3 yards last season. Simply put, the Cowboys suddenly need to look at veteran free agents, such as Jonathan Vilma, or hope that their draft picks step up and fill the voids. That's a position that no team wants to be in.
My question is, where is the quarterback controversy? Surely there ought to be one, especially when your $108 million self-proclaimed superstar quarterback has won one playoff game in his career and shows little sign of progression, leading the team to an 8-8 record each of the past three seasons.
Tony Romo is his name, and he is the most overrated quarterback in the NFL. As a player, he has great stats - 208 touchdowns to 101 interceptions while completing 64 percent of his passes for his career. As a quarterback? Yikes. He's 34 years old in his 12th season (the previous eight as the team's signal-caller) and not to beat a dead horse, but he's won ONE playoff game. There are 31 general managers in the NFL today that would take a second (and third) look at their starting quarterback, but we all know that Romo plays for Mr. Romo Apologetic himself, Jerry Jones.
You're thinking I'm too hard on the guy - that football is a team sport and the Cowboys would be even worse off without the guy who threw 31 touchdown passes in 15 games last season, good for fifth in the NFL. I'll get to that, but first, a note on the organization before getting back to the main topic - I can't think of another franchise in all of sports that has been more irrelevant and bordering on subpar in the past 15 years, yet is not treated as such, than Dallas.
ONE playoff win! Money is a beautiful thing and it's the only reason why Jones is still at the helm of an organization that has done nothing since winning Super Bowl XXX over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Currently, Romo is recovering from offseason back surgery and an injury that prevented him from playing in a must-win Week 17 match with Philadelphia last season. Kyle Orton took the snaps and gave his best effort, but the Eagles prevailed.
Romo says he's on track to return this season at full strength and play 16 games. Then he promised five more seasons of mediocrity.
“For me, I think you just go play,” Romo told reporters. “There’s no question in my mind, not only am I going to be able to make it through 16 games, I’ll make it through another five years.”
On a serious note, doesn't there come a time when Romo has to prove his worth and win some meaningful games? And by meaningful games, I mean reach the NFC title game? Not that the gun-slinger has ever been complemented with a weak offense, but going into this upcoming season, he has one of the best wide receivers in the game in Dez Bryant - in a contract year - one of the most reliable tight ends in the game in Jason Witten, a solid running back in DeMarco Murray, and a complementary player like Cole Beasley.
Credit to Romo, Jones and the Cowboys brass for restructuring Romo's contract and relieving pressure off all parties involved. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported the team converted $12.5 million of Romo's $13.5 million base salary into a signing bonus, lowering his cap number from $21.8 million to $11.8 million. This move was part of the plan when the quarterback signed his six-year, $108 million contract last year.
Moreover, Romo's base salary is $1 million in 2014. But in 2015, Romo will have the highest cap number for any quarterback in the league at $27.7 million. The Cowboys can cut Romo in the 2016 season when he'll be 36.
At this stage of his career, the word legacy has to be creeping into Romo's mind. Presumably with one or two prime seasons remaining, he needs to not only continue putting up big big numbers but lead his team to victory when it counts. Maybe he'll finally have a big moment this season, and maybe he won't. Maybe he'll never live down his major flaw of not being a clutch quarterback. Oh yeah, I haven't brought up the botched snap in the Seattle game.
Botched snap in the Seattle game. There.
As frustrating and confusing as Romo's career has been thus far, Jones' decision to not at least address his successor is equally as baffling. His trust in the quarterback he signed as an undrafted free agent is bordering on hurting the overall team as he crosses his fingers that Romo justifies management's decision to stick with him through the bad times.
The Cowboys thought long and hard about drafting Johnny Manziel in the first round, but ultimately didn't pull the trigger and instead will rely on Brandon Weeden should worse come to worse. Needless to say, that's not the long-term plan.
Bottom line: the majority of NFL fans can see Romo as a superstar. I put him in a group with current QBs Matt Ryan, Andrew Luck and Alex Smith. Why? Because each of them has won...ready? ONE PLAYOFF GAME! One more shot at Romo, please. He's the oldest of the four...by far.