Most teams in the NFL have gotten the message over the past three seasons, well, except for the Dallas Cowboys. So while the rest of the league realizes that you can never have too many good quarterbacks, the Cowboys sit with the same philosophy. For the past few years the Cowboys have put their eggs into Tony Romo’s basket and been content to have a proven veteran as his backup.
Cowboys fans shouldn’t be complaining about their options at quarterback because Romo and Kyle Orton are as solid as it gets in the league as a duo but while the rest of the NFL has been busy drafting for their future at quarterback, Jerry Jones and his Cowboys have been sitting on their hands. It’s a mistake and the Cowboys continue to overlook the importance of drafting and developing the quarterback position.
Look around the league and you’ll find that almost every team has drafted, or brought in, a highly touted a quarterback of the future in the past three seasons, whether they needed one or not. Just take a look at the list:
New York Giants: Ryan Nassib, Philadelphia Eagles: Matt Barkely, Washington Redskins: Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins, Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mike Glennon, Minnesota Vikings: Christian Ponder, San Francisco 49ers: Colin Kaepernick, Seattle Seahawks: Russell Wilson, Buffalo Bills: E. J. Manuel, Miami Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill, New England Patriots: Ryan Mallett, New York Jets: Geno Smith, Cincinnati Bengals: Andy Dalton, Cleveland Browns: Brandon Weeden, Pittsburgh Steelers: Landry Jones, Houston Texans: Case Keenum and T.J. Yates, Jacksonville Jaguars: Blaine Gabbert, Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, Tennessee Titans: Jake Locker, Denver Broncos: Brock Osweiler and Zac Dysert, Kansas City Chiefs: Tyler Bray, Oakland Raiders: Terrelle Pryor and Tyler Wilson.
That’s 22 teams that have realized how important it is to have a young, talented quarterback on your roster to develop and this list doesn’t include the Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions or St. Louis Rams, who all have young quarterbacks still holding the reigns. The list is also missing the Green Bay Packers, who draft and bring in young quarterbacks to compete every year.
Add them all up and well over three-quarters of the league knows you have to continue to find quarterbacks every year in order to keep your team from becoming one of the worst teams in the league. That’s where most team’s end up if they don’t plan for the future at the most important position on the field.
The irony of the situation is that the Cowboys did this successfully in grooming Romo and look where it’s gotten them. Before Romo there was a string of bad decisions and franchise struggling to find their way after Troy Aikman had retired and along came Romo to at least give them a chance at winning. The Cowboys did play some good football with Drew Bledsoe, Quincy Carter and Vinny Testaverde but they were never going to win big with any of those players and they developed a young quarterback named Tony Romo, someone capable of winning big. It hasn’t happened yet with Romo but at least he’s given them a chance, unlike any QB they’ve had since Aikman rode off into the sunset.
Of course there are a few cases like the New Orleans Saints, who continue to win big even without seriously looking to groom a replacement for Drew Brees but that is an anomaly. Most teams recognize that you can never have enough quarterbacks, no matter who you have starting under center.
Also remember that these developmental quarterbacks don’t need to play much and can be used for trades at a later date. Some good preseason performances, coupled with a few good games while filling in for a starter can get a team high draft picks in return for investing a draft pick in an average quarterback. The Eagles and Packers continue to cash in on this, while the Cowboys continue to stand content with what they’ve got.
The Dallas Cowboys would have been wise to draft a future quarterback to pair with their aging core of signal callers. It’s a small price to pay for the most important position on the field, but the Cowboys continue to dismiss that fact.