Roster Rundown: Healthy Romo Provides Leadership, Game Changing Plays

(Editor's Note: Throughout the off-season, staff writers will take a closer look at the roster, analyzing players' impact last season and how each fits into the team's 2016 plans. Today's Roster Rundown entry features quarterback Tony Romo.)

Name: Tony Romo
Position: Quarterback
Height/Weight: 6-2 / 230
Experience: 13 seasons
College:Eastern Illinois

Key Stat: In one of only two complete starts last season, Romo engineered his 24th career comeback victory for the Cowboys, erasing a 10-point deficit in the middle of the fourth quarter in Week 1 against the Giants.

Contract Status: Signed through 2019.

2015 Impact: The season never really got started for Tony Romo. Two separate collarbone injuries robbed him of any chance to build on his spectacular 2014. There was no question that once he went down, the team was in trouble. The backup quarterback situation just wasn't good enough to make up for his loss. What they missed was his ability to make those huge game changing plays. They missed his ability to get them in the right situation scheme wise run or pass but more importantly they missed his leadership. This team needed his passion and competitiveness because without it they just couldn't get over the hump in those tight games where he would have made a difference. We all know that he tends to make everyone around him better and his sole purpose is on the team's success and its direction.

Where He Fits: The front office sees a window of three to four more seasons with him as the starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. In reality maybe two to three appear to be more realistic. Romo has always worked hard during the season to prepare for these games but recently has had to spend more of his time rehabbing from injuries. Three of the last four seasons he has come into training camp with questions about his health. It is no secret that Tony Romo will be the starting quarterback for this team but the question is will we see the guy that was a MVP candidate in 2014 or the guy that only played in four games in 2015? It's probably not wise to bet against him knowing what we all know about his character and ability to bounce back from these types of setbacks.

Writers' Analysis:

Rob Phillips: The Cowboys fully expect Romo to be as good as new in 2016 with a full offseason to heal his left collarbone as well as recent surgery to strengthen the area and help ensure the bone won't fracture again. The bigger question this offseason seems to be the depth behind Romo. Having not signed a veteran so far in free agency, does that increase the likelihood that Kellen Moore enters training camp as the favorite to be the primary backup? Is it becoming more likely the Cowboys draft a quarterback? Time will tell on both matters. With regard to Romo, he has capable skill players around him and an offensive line that will protect him. I expect a bounce-back year, though it's hard to know exactly how many years he has left at a high level.


David Helman: I'm not sure if I believe Jerry Jones' assertion that Tony Romo will be the Cowboys' quarterback for the next "four to five" years, but I also think it's a bit premature to assume his career is over. A broken collarbone is hardly a chronic, career-threatening injury, and Romo just has surgery to protect against future problems. He's also had an extra year to rest and rehab his back, which hasn't given him any problems since November of 2014. If recent history has proven anything, it's that quarterbacks can still excel at 36 and older – see Peyton Manning and Brett Favre. The Cowboys absolutely need to draft a quarterback this spring, but I don't think it's unreasonable to think Romo has another two-to-three years of Pro Bowl-caliber play in front of him. The pieces are in place on the offensive line, and a healthier Romo should be the difference between last year's horrific record and a competitive football team.

Nick Eatman:If the Cowboys indeed are all on board with Jerry Jones' prediction that Romo has 4-5 more years to play, we should find that out here in the next month or so. With the No. 4 pick, the Cowboys will get the chance to draft a quarterback, but it doesn't appear they are headed in that direction. And I'm fine with that, mainly because I think you can get a player who can contribute right now. That doesn't mean the quarterback position doesn't get addressed in the draft and/or free agency, but Romo should get healthy enough to give the Cowboys some peace of mind this offseason.

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