Tony Romo has seven viable options, but really there is only one.
Kansas City has been discussed as preferred destination but, sorry Kansas City, Romo is not going to be a Chief. Chiefs owner Clark Hunt is committed to Alex Smith.
“Since he’s been in Kansas City he’s been everything we hoped he would be,” Hunt told me. “He’s been a tremendous leader. He’s led us to one of our best four-year stretches in the history of the franchise. You can count him on a weekly basis — he’s only missed a couple of games.”
Clark can’t talk directly about another team’s quarterback without violating the NFL’s rules on tampering, and this was not a shot at Romo, but it certainly fits.
Per a report from ESPN’s Ed Werder, Romo thinks he has two to three years left to play and that he expects to be released. A trade of Romo was always a Trumpian fantasy.
For Romo’s inspiring story to have the finale it deserves, he must go to a competitive team with a decent backup. If he can’t go to Houston, he should just quit.
There are no other viable options.
History says if Romo has a chance to go out winning, the team must be good or this ending will be sad, hideous and painful.
Per the owner, KC belongs to Alex Smith. Carson Palmer has told the Arizona Cardinals he plans to return. The Denver Broncos are going with what they have because the man in charge, John Elway, knows that bringing in Tony Romo is not the same as acquiring Peyton Manning.
That leaves Houston, which has a good team with the exception of a quarterback.
The addition of free agent quarterback Brock Osweiler from Denver last season did not solve this team’s biggest issue since the franchise began in 2002. The team’s best quarterback to date remains the great Matt Schaub.
This is an insulting reality to the legacy of great Houston quarterbacks that include Pro Football Hall of Famers George Blanda, Ken Stabler, Warren Moon and my two personal favorites — Bucky Richardson and Billy Joe Tolliver.
Houston deserves a good quarterback, and a Romo/Texans marriage makes the most sense for all parties. A Romo Texans’ team can win a divisional round game, something neither has ever achieved.
It’s a good roster located in the harmless AFC South. The defense is stacked with studs, receiver DeAndre Hopkins is a Pro Bowler and running back Lamar Miller is not a bum.
The only thing missing is a major upgrade over Osweiler.
The Cowboys can designate Romo for a June 1 release, which would give them greater salary cap relief, at which point Houston should grab him.
He could keep his family in Dallas and make the commute to City of Humidity. This is not going to be an extended-stay deal.
The Bears, Bills, Browns and Rams are all terrible and need more than Romo to be 9-7. He can’t save those teams, and playing for them will end him.
As a pseudo-sports historian, he should know better than anyone else that when aging quarterbacks switch teams for one final push it doesn’t always end well.
The ideal is the Peyton Manning finish, which ended with a win in the Super Bowl. He was good but until the very end, at which point the team carried him to a title.
Brett Favre’s switch from Green Bay to the Jets to Minnesota included an appearance in the NFC title game. Joe Montana left San Francisco for Kansas City and led the Chiefs to the AFC title game, but injuries finished his career after two years there.
Then there is the well-founded fear that Romo’s finale will look like Favre’s first year with the New York Jets. Or Joe Namath’s one year with the LA Rams. Or the sad finale of Colts’ great Johnny Unitas with the San Diego Chargers.
If you want a more modern era selection, throw in Donovan McNabb, Mark Brunell, Bernie Kosar, Drew Bledsoe and a host of other good quarterbacks who finished with other teams to less than glowing reviews.
Romo does not want to retire, and, as evidenced by his one appearance in the ’16 season, he can still play. Whether he can stay healthy is an entirely different issue.
For this to work he can’t go to a team where he needs to wear a cape, because he can’t.
It’s Houston, or it’s time to go home.
Listen to Mac Engel every Tuesday and Thursday on Shan & RJ from 5:30-10 a.m. on 105.3 The Fan.