FRISCO, Texas – If last season taught us anything, it's that things can change rather quickly regarding all positions, especially at quarterback.
The face of the franchise and team MVP went down in training camp, a few weeks after the backup already suffered an injury in camp.
Yet, a fourth-round pick took over and carried the Cowboys to a 13-3 record and finished the season with the NFL's highest QB rating for a rookie.
So what will 2017 bring for the quarterback position? Have we seen the last of Romo? Do the Cowboys bring back Kellen Moore and/or Mark Sanchez? What about drafting yet another quarterback in a later round?
The staff writers of DallasCowboys.com each took a turn to predict what this team might do regarding the quarterback position in 2017.
Rob Phillips: Like it or not, quarterback is going to dominate Cowboys-related headlines for the second consecutive offseason – for very different reasons, of course. I've been asked on Twitter if I expect Dak Prescott to improve following what Jason Garrett believes is probably the best rookie season ever from a rookie quarterback. The answer is yes, based not only on his talent but his work ethic. Think about how prepared he was last summer for an opportunity that seemed highly unlikely at the time. Regarding Tony Romo, no one can get inside his head and guess what he wants to do, so it's definitely too early to talk about his future in Dallas. Even if he is back next season, I wouldn't discount the possibility of drafting a quarterback next season as an inexpensive developmental backup for Prescott. I also wouldn't dismiss the idea of re-signing Mark Sanchez, who was a terrific veteran presence around Prescott, too, or Kellen Moore, who's also a free agent. The Cowboys will have options here, but they should be able to sleep easier this offseason in this regard: they found the franchise's future last year.
Nick Eatman: Just remember this, there are several franchises in this league that would love to be set at the quarterback position for many years to come. And seemingly, that's what the Cowboys appear to be with Dak. Yeah, I know we've seen cases with guys such as Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III where they looked like superstars in the making but have fallen off dramatically. I guess that could happen with Dak but I'm not seeing it. And if the Cowboys thought it was a possibility, they wouldn't consider parting ways with Romo. On that topic, I think the Cowboys will find a place for Romo in a trade. While this is a business, it's also a family business and I would bet the Cowboys are more focused on finding the right place for Romo than just taking the best draft pick or trade value in return. As for the Cowboys' backups, I think Sanchez might end up returning because of his experience and relationship with Dak. I don't rule out Kellen Moore coming back as well and I would also draft a quarterback in the later rounds as well. Moore and Sanchez would probably battle for the No. 2 spot with the other one getting released.
David Helman:I don't see Tony Romo returning to this team, as he's simply far too expensive to be anything but a starter. He isn't ready to retire, and the Cowboys will be willing to help him further his career – to some degree. They will trade him in the coming months, though the cost won't be as expensive as many seem to expect. The Cowboys will fetch a third-round pick and a fifth-round pick for his services. The fifth-rounder will be conditional, climbing as high as a third-rounder if Romo meets certain benchmarks – such as starting 16 games or reaching the playoffs. Having finished that chapter, the Cowboys will re-sign Mark Sanchez to a very affordable, two-year deal. He gets along wonderfully with Dak Prescott, and he knows the locker room and the offense. If he wants to come back, I also don't think it'd be a bad idea to bring back Kellen Moore on a one-year deal. I'd then draft a late-round quarterback or sign a priority free agent to compete with Moore at training camp. That gives you a top two of Dak and Sanchez, with either Moore or the rookie serving as the No. 3 quarterback when the season starts. Of course, I could be way off base with all of this. But I think it's a solid guess for late-January.
Bryan Broaddus: I believe we will have a clearer picture of what the front office will do at quarterback by the time we get to the NFL Combine. Until then it's only a guess but here's my two cents. They will make the decision to move on from Tony Romo. I think he will be difficult to trade because of his contract, injury history and the limited number of teams that Romo would like to play for. If I was a team that wanted him - I would wait the Cowboys out and not give up the selection. By doing this I feel that front office would have no choice but to release him or hope that he retires. With Romo out of the picture, they will need a backup. I would rather have Kellen Moore in that role over Mark Sanchez. In the limited games for both I would take my chances that with the current roster, Moore would have a better chance of being successful as opposed to Sanchez.