Might 2016 finally be the year the Dallas Cowboys invest in a future successor for quarterback Tony Romo with a high draft pick?
The answer is yes and no, per owner Jerry Jones.
What is certain, per Jones, is that the Cowboys have failed so far in terms of finding a quality backup and future successor to Romo, who is out for the season with a fractured collarbone.
That is evident in their 3-8 record, including seven losses without Romo at quarterback. It all goes back to the decision to invest in the now-cut Brandon Weeden as the backup and quarterback of the future. Weeden went 0-3 as a starter in 2015 before being replaced by Matt Cassel, who went 0-4.
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“That didn't work out for us,” Jones said. Consequently, I think we have made a D, if you want to give it that, make it an F, relative to how we have approached this situation if Romo should get hurt," Jones said on his radio show on 105.3 The Fan. "We should be building for the future as well as have an operable quarterback behind our starter, Romo. And that's where we're going to try and get to."
If the season ended today, the Cowboys would pick 4th overall in the 2016 Draft.
But that’s where Jones pumps his brakes. Jones is interested in taking a quarterback in 2016, but that doesn’t mean it will be in the first round.
"Well, I don't know about first round, necessarily, at all," Jones said. "Half of the first-round picks that are made, don't work. That's not negative, they just don't work, so we have to keep that in mind.
"There's no doubt that we will be, as we move forward, continuing to try to get a situation where if Romo should get hurt, then we got a guy that can step in and carry us for some games, hopefully - that's a backup description I'm dealing with there - or at the same time, be developing for the future."
The Cowboys have drafted only two quarterbacks since 1991 _ Quincy Carter in the second round in 2001 and Stephen McGee in the fourth round in 2009.
While Jones admittedly remains risk adverse to drafting a quarterback in the first round because so many don’t work out, he considered doing just that in 2014 with Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel before being overruled by coach Jason Garrett, vice president Stephen Jones and scouting chief Will McClay.
Manziel was drafted by the Cleveland Browns and has been a huge disappointment with a string of off-the-field incidents.
The Cowboys took right guard Zack Martin instead of Manziel and he has turned into a Pro Bowler.
"Do you remember two years ago when we sat there right to the last second on the clock with Manziel? My whole point is, there you are," Jones said. "At that particular time, for a first-round pick, I thought that Romo had more time. And if we sat there and worked with Manziel for four or five years, now we all know what's happened. We know the off-the-field issues. But on our board, one of our top five or six picks dropped down to us and it was at the quarterback position, and I absolutely was a vote of one in that room to basically go there. And I understood why.
"I understood the risk that was involved. And we got a great player instead. But those are the circumstances that come up when you're thinking for the future. I was at that particular time, debating the value of him for the future as well as debating a backup."