Just over 13 months after handing quarterback Tony Romo a six-year, $108 million extension, the Dallas Cowboys are suddenly being linked to multiple big-name quarterback prospects in the days and hours leading up to the first round of the 2014 NFL draft on Thursday night.
UCF's Blake Bortles and Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel have both been tied to Dallas in recent days, and while both have potentially big NFL futures in front of them, the aforementioned Romo extension makes using a first-round pick on either quarterback a questionable decision for a Cowboys team with several needs.
NFL Network's Brian Billick said on air Thursday that the Cowboys "could draft any defensive player and it would be a good pick. They're that bad on defense." He's not wrong; Dallas' defensive unit ranked last in total defense last season, and the team didn't use a single pick towards bolstering their defensive line. With the likes of DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher now out of the mix, one would think that should be a bigger priority for Jerry Jones and company on Thursday than adding a flashy backup to Romo.
Had Romo not signed the mega-extension in 2013, the quarterback chatter would make much more sense. Romo has had a reputation of not being able to get his team to the playoffs, so it would've been plausible that the Cowboys were looking for his replacement in a draft filled with high-ceiling signal-callers.
But if the Cowboys did select Bortles, Manziel or some other quarterback with the 16th pick, they would only control the player for five years, meaning the rookie's deal would actually be shorter than that of Romo. So any talk of doing an Aaron Rodgers-like development of these young quarterbacks behind Romo doesn't make sense. Unless there's some absolutely wild trade on Thursday shipping Romo out of Dallas, it wouldn't make sense for the Cowboys to go quarterback on the first two days of the draft.
But, it's Jerry Jones. If there were an owner who would pull off such a stunt, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better candidate than him.