Though backup quarterback may be a need, free agency may not be the place to fill it
By Matthew Postins
Cowboys 2013 Free Agent Needs: Quarterbacks
RattleandHumSports.com is breaking down the free agent needs at every position group for the 2014 Dallas Cowboys. Today it’s the quarterbacks.
Quarterbacks: Tony Romo (starter); Kyle Orton (backup).
Cowboys quarterbacks entering free agency: None.
Free agency need?: 2 (out of 10, 10 being most pressing).
Why: The Cowboys have both Tony Romo and Kyle Orton under contract for 2014. Romo’s $108 million extension kicks in this year and will likely be renegotiated for cap space. Orton makes good money for some NFL starting quarterbacks, but owner and general manager Jerry Jones isn’t likely to jettison him, based on Orton’s performance in Week 17. In fact, given Orton’s $3.3 million cap hit, don’t be surprised if Jones decides to renegotiate his deal and tack on an extra year or two. Certainly, Romo’s back surgery has to, theoretically, change Jones’ calculus about the future of the position. But if the Cowboys are going to look forward to a Romo-free world, they’re going to do it with a draft pick they can control for four or five years and not a veteran. So while you may think the position is a pressing need, the Cowboys don’t, at least when it comes to free agency.
Possible targets: Let’s say that the Cowboys decide to get rid of Orton, or that Romo’s back is a lot worse than we think. Where could the Cowboys go for help? The top free-agent quarterbacks likely to hit the market are Michael Vick and Josh McCown. Vick is a non-starter, given his financial demands. McCown might be a bit more manageable, assuming Chicago can’t lure him back. Other backup-level quarterbacks in the Top 10 include Luke McCown, Tarvaris Jackson and Colt McCoy. The pickings are pretty slim.
Looking ahead: With Romo on the shelf for the next few months, the Cowboys will likely try to bring in another quarterback by the start of offseason workouts in order to facilitate practice reps. One name that you will not hear is Alex Tanney, who is on the roster for the Cleveland Browns. Nick Stephens, another of last year’s young quarterbacks in training camp, is on the roster for the Baltimore Ravens. When the time comes it will be someone cheap and, perhaps, local. But it likely won’t be anyone you think of as being Romo’s heir apparent.
Next up: Running backs.