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NFL AM: Dallas Needs To Move On From Tony Romo

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Romo Must Go

The pursuit of the Super Bowl title for the 2016 Dallas Cowboys came to a screeching halt before Week 1 even began.

With Tony Romo’s broken vertebrae in his back that will force him to likely miss at least half of the season, the Cowboys, who were fringe title contenders coming off last year’s 4-12 campaign, are now playoff afterthoughts.

Enter rookie fourth round pick Dak Prescott.

Prescott has been perhaps the most impressive rookie in the NFL at any position through the first three weeks of preseason play and although the team certainly didn’t want to have to play him in 2016, they are left with no choice.  Prescott was thrust into the backup position when Kellen Moore broke his leg during the team’s preseason opener.

“I said it beforehand, that’s the way I prepared to begin with,” Prescott said about being forced into the role of starting quarterback. “Nothing really changes. I just gotta continue to do that and make sure I don’t slack up or be lazy and just stay focused.”

Prescott will certainly have his issues this season as nobody can reasonably expect a fourth-round rookie quarterback to be functional, despite the tools that he has at his disposal.  With that said, the Cowboys have to make lemonade out their proverbial lemons, and they will get a good, extended look at their quarterback of the future.

The question then turns toward how much in the future will it be before it’s Prescott’s team full-time. Romo has a $19.6 million cap hit next season, but it’s also his last year under contract.  Although it’s a huge amount of dead money, what’s really the end gain for keeping him?

Romo has been one of the all-time great Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks, but his legacy will go down as someone who underachieved in big spots.  It’s reasonable to believe that Romo will never be able to stay healthy for a full season and even if he does, there’s no reason to believe that he can get the team over the proverbial hump.

After three preseason games it’s entirely too early to say that Prescott is the guy who will take Dallas to the promised land.  With that said, it’s time for the team to move away from Romo.

It was a great 10-plus year run for Romo and nobody could have imagined he would accomplish what he did after being undrafted from Eastern Illinois.  His career is one that should be celebrated, not admonished.

It’s time for Dallas to move on, even if Prescott isn’t the answer.

Bigger Name Cuts Around the League

After the third week of preseason, teams have to trim their rosters from 90 players to 75, but Saturday’s ultimate cut down to 53.  Some bigger name cuts are trickling in around the league:

The Cleveland Browns released defensive end Paul Kruger, who was once a big free agent signing.  The 30-year old Kruger had 11 sacks in the 2014 season and he is still believed to have some gas left in the tank as he had two years left on his five-year, $40 million deal he signed back in 2013.

The New England Patriots have let go of defensive tackle Terrance “Pot Roast” Knighton.

Knighton had his best years in Denver in 2013 and 2014 and was a productive member of the Washington Redskins last season.  At 30 years old, he should be able to find a home somewhere.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released veteran safety Major Wright over the weekend.  Wright is a true “Tampa-2” safety without that particular scheme to play in.  The writing was on the wall for the former Bears safety when Lovie Smith was relieved of his duties following last season.  Wright’s NFL future seems murky at this point.

The Philadelphia Eagles released a pair of young receivers in former New York Giant Rueben Randle and former San Francisco 49ers first-round pick Chris Givins.  With multiple teams giving up on these young receivers so quickly in their careers it’s far from a guarantee that either will get another shot this season.

Big Injuries Around The League

The worst part of exhibition football are the injuries that occur in mostly meaningless games.  The Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers and Baltimore Ravens each lost key components to their roster this weekend.

The Colts were believed to have lost offensive guard Jack Mewhort for the season to a torn ACL on Saturday.

On Sunday, Colts owner Jim Irsay quelled concern about Mewhort’s knee with this tweet.

Mewhort has been one of the most reliable linemen for Chuck Pagano’s team through his two years in the league and this is another major loss to a Colts team that has been ravaged by injuries in the preseason.

In San Diego, the injury news was worse as diminutive running back Branden Oliver went down for the season with a torn Achilles, the team confirmed.  Oliver is the second Chargers offensive player to have that same injury as the team lost tight end Jeff Cumberland last week.

Meanwhile in Baltimore, the Ravens had another injury to the tight end position as veteran Ben Watson tore his right Achilles on the game’s first play in their 30-9 victory over the Detroit Lions.  At 35, it’s unclear whether Watson can come back from this injury.

Baltimore has experienced injuries to tight ends Dennis Pitta, Maxx Williams and of course Watson.  Nick Boyle will also miss the first 10 weeks of the season as he is suspended for violating the NFL’s drug policy.

 


About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.