Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo will be 33 years old when the 2013 NFL season begins, the last of his current six-year, $67.4 million deal. Through 11 games in 2012, Romo has been sacked 26 times, tied for eighth-most in the league. Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones keeps talking about all these long-term plans and what his team is going to do, but he might want to tap the breaks on that until he fixes a glaring problem for his team.
About midway through the second quarter of the Cowboys’ 38-31 loss to the Washington Redskins on Thanksgiving Day, aggravated Dallas fans began tweeting, posting and yelling a rhetorical question: Why would Romo re-sign with a team that isn’t committed to protecting him?
The Cowboys’ offensive line is absolutely awful, but that’s nothing new in 2012. However, Jones signed two free agents this past off-season in Nate Livings and Mackenzy Bernadeau to “shore up” Dallas’ front. The problem is neither of those players are better than what the Cowboys already had.
Jones gave Livings a five-year, $18.7 million deal while Bernadeau received a four-year, $11 million contract. In short, the Cowboys are stuck with two overpaid offensive linemen for at least the next three seasons. Neither player should have been signed as a starter, but Jones’ recognition for talent among offensive linemen is awful despite the fact he played guard in college. The result is a battered Romo who isn’t getting any younger and doesn’t have any hope of change.
Unless Romo calls out his offensive line (he won’t), Jones will just assume his players need more time together. Meanwhile, Romo will continue to get pounded (anyone remember the broken rib and punctured lung?) while these subpar offensive linemen continue to rake in the dough.
This problem is a perfect representation of the Cowboys as a franchise under Jones: The team has glaring issues across the board, but Jones doesn’t have enough football knowledge to fix them. Instead, he cuts players like Andre Gurode, Leonard Davis and Marc Colombo with plans to replace them. The result? The Cowboys are still the laughing stock of the league and Romo’s career keeps getting shorter and shorter. Unless Jones hires a real GM, the Cowboys are going to be looking for a Romo replacement a lot sooner than expected.