Jerry Jones Says Tony Romo Will Be Cowboys' Starting QB for 'Next 4 or 5 Years'

Daniel Kramer@dkramer_Featured ColumnistFebruary 28, 2016

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, right, talks with injured quarterback Tony Romo, left, before an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)
Brandon Wade/Associated Press

Jerry Jones believes Tony Romo could still lead the Dallas Cowboys at quarterback when the four-time Pro Bowler is 40 years old.

On Saturday, the team’s owner and general manager said Romo, 35, will be the Cowboys’ franchise quarterback for the next four to five years, according to Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News.

Romo suffered a broken collarbone twice last year and missed 12 games as the Cowboys finished 4-12. His absence was hardly the only problem Dallas dealt with, though. It will need to fill a slew of voids in the offseason through free agency and the draft.

Yet Jones said that even if the Cowboys do draft a quarterback this year, Romo will remain their man, per Machota:

What is the one unequivocal fact that you can count on relative to the preparation of this draft and on draft day is that I'm planning on Romo being the quarterback for the next four or five years. That’s a fact. You won't see a decision on draft day that will fly in the face of not believing from our standpoint that he'll be our quarterback for four or five years.

"If a player came in here and played behind Tony Romo [for three or four] years, he'd get a Harvard degree in how to play QB," Jones added on Sunday, per Machota.

With the No. 4 overall pick, many—including ESPN expert Mel Kiper Jr.—believe the Cowboys will draft their future quarterback. Kiper’s latest mock draft has Dallas taking California quarterback Jared Goff:

This is going to be a fascinating situation. On one hand, the Dallas front office isn't the least bit delusional if they look at the roster with a healthy Tony Romo and believe they can compete for a playoff spot, which makes it harder to take a QB who might not see the field for a couple of years. But ... let's not forget that they need to upgrade the backup QB situation, period. That's what derailed them last season when Romo was out. Tough call, especially if Goff is the top QB on their board and he's available here.

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CBS Sports debated whether Dallas should take a quarterback that high:

ESPN’s First Take even questioned whether it should move on from Romo altogether:

At this week’s NFL Scouting Combine, the Cowboys told former Mississippi State signal-caller Dak Prescott they’re in the market to draft a quarterback, according to Clarence E. Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Prescott figures to be a second- to third-round pick, but quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson indicated that’s where they might make such a selection.

“Coach Wilson told me their picks,” Prescott said, per Hill. “He told me they were thinking about getting a quarterback with one of those picks. He said if I work hard, things could work out.”

Romo hasn’t played a full season in three years and is “leaning toward” inserting a plate in his collarbone, according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk. 

The idea of the aging veteran playing out his current contract—which has four years remaining, per Spotrac—seems ambitious, even if he does remain healthy.

Peyton Manning and Brett Favre are two examples of MVP-caliber quarterbacks who hit an immediate decline as they approached age 40.

Perhaps the outspoken owner was saying what he thought was necessary to maintain conviction in the team. Or perhaps he believes Romo can beat the odds and continue playing at a high level as he pushes 40.

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