On Monday, the Dallas Cowboys signed Brandon Weeden to a two-year, $1.2 million contract, which suggests Kyle Orton is leaning toward retirement. Thus, Weeden could become Tony Romo’s primary backup this season. However, the most intriguing factor of this deal is Weeden potentially becoming Romo’s replacement down the road, although that may be sooner than you might think.
Sure, Weeden put up rough numbers with the Cleveland Browns, but any quarterback would have trouble recording solid stats with them. He can’t be judged by what he did there with a dysfunctional franchise, although he just signed with another one. The difference is the Cowboys have offensive weapons, so he would have no excuse not to produce if suddenly thrust into the starting role due to a Romo injury.
Considering Romo, 33, is coming off back surgery to repair a herniated disc, he’s not exactly in the best condition to play into his late 30s like some other quarterbacks. Add in the fact his contract situation will soon be just like DeMarcus Ware’s was for Dallas this offseason and Romo may not be around for the full six years to which he signed last March.
If Orton does indeed retire this offseason, then Weeden will be Romo’s primary backup this fall. Dallas doesn’t keep more than two quarterbacks on its active roster, so Weeden will either replace Orton or get cut during training camp unless the Cowboys are suddenly sacrificing a roster spot for a third quarterback in fear of Romo’s health.
The primary benefit of Weeden, 30, will be two or three years from now as he’ll still be relatively fresh due to years of playing baseball and now sitting on the bench in Arlington. Assuming Romo is out of the picture for one reason or another by 2017, which would be the same timeframe that Ware’s tenure in Dallas ended, Weeden would at least give the Cowboys a veteran option to start while the team looked for a new franchise quarterback. That’s not to say he would be quality starter who could lead the team to the playoffs, but he would be better than an unproven rookie because it’s unlikely Dallas will have a high enough draft pick to land a top-notch college prospect.
Weeden was very highly-touted coming out of Oklahoma State and in the right offense with the right weapons around him, he could surprise a lot of folks in the second stage of his career if given the chance. He’s certainly not going to start over Romo or anything crazy like that, but he could be a great long-term option for the Cowboys down the road, assuming he’s on the active roster in 2014.