Massarotti: Just Cut Tony Loose, Jerry

By Tony Massarotti

So Tony Romo sits there like a used car, albeit one that still has some miles to drive. The Dallas Cowboys are learning that he has minimal trade-in value. They’d be far better off donating to charity.

And make no mistake: in the world of NFL football, as it pertains to the harsh reality of the quarterback position, that is what the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans are.

Charity cases.

Earth to Jerry Jones: cut the man loose, and do it sooner rather than later. Everybody wins. The Cowboys get to move on, albeit with some salary cap implications, and Romo gets to pick where he plays, which is something he deserves. Romo has played 13 seasons in Dallas and posted a career quarterback rating of 97.1, gone 78-49 during the regular season and won a couple of playoff games. He’s played hurt a lot. And when Dak Prescott emerged along with Ezekiel Elliott last season to take the Cowboys into their next era, Romo handled it all with such grace that his unforgettable press conference should be used as a model for athletes everywhere.

So do the guy a solid, Jerry. Shake his hand. Thank him for generally playing well and, far more importantly, acting with dignity. And then you can both move on.

And then Romo can pick between the Broncos and Texans, with the hope that his arrival will help alter the landscape in the AFC.

Get more commentary from CBS Local Sports Voices.

Let’s make something clear here: Romo leaving Dallas is good for football, if for no other reason than there should be one more good team in an AFC that badly needs one. Behind Prescott and Elliott, the Cowboys will be in good hands for years to come. There will be no suffering for Dallas. In the interim, either Denver or Houston will get considerably better, overnight really, and that should garner the attention of a New England Patriots team that all but cakewalked to the Super Bowl last season.

Think about it: nobody really challenged the Patriots in the conference last year. Nobody. New England’s only AFC loss came to the Buffalo Bills in Week 4, behind third-string quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who was filling in for both Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo. New England’s only other defeat came to the Seattle Seahawks, who caught New England in the immediate aftermath of the Jamie Collins trade.

Last season, Denver and Houston had among the best defenses in football. The only major thing either team really lacked was a quarterback. Patriots coach Bill Belichick was so respectful of the Denver pass defense last season that he devised a game plan which effectively took the ball out of Tom Brady’s hands. In the playoffs, the Texans defense so flummoxed Brady that Houston might have won with even average quarterback play.

Is Romo alone enough to change that? Only time will tell. Both the Broncos and Texans are on New England’s schedule again this year, though Romo’s resume in big games is spotty at best. But following a season in which New England won its fifth Super Bowl with Belichick and Brady in charge and an offseason in which New England appears to have further strengthened its roster (at least for now), the AFC needs a legitimate challenger, a team that can at least threaten the Patriots, a viable Super Bowl threat outside of New England.

Most important, the AFC needs another quarterback.

Tony Massarotti is an avid Boston sports fan and has covered sports in Boston for more than 15 years for both the Boston Herald and Boston Globe. He now serves as a co-host on afternoon drive on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston. He was a two-time Massachusetts Sportswriter of the Year as voted by his peers and has written four books, including “Big Papi,” the New York Times-bestselling memoirs of David Ortiz. You can follow Tony @tonymassarotti.

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