With three full days to go before the end of the NFL's 2016 season, the rumor mill is already churning hard... and the first doozy of a report involves the Buffalo Bills.
One of the biggest names that will likely be available this offseason, quarterback Tony Romo, recently lost his starting job to upstart rookie Dak Prescott.
And now with the offseason coming into focus, the interest in Romo is heating up.
According to Jason LaCanfora of CBSSports.com, the Bills have "significant interest" in the services of Romo. The report sites both 'team and league sources.' The report also indicates that the Cowboys will be looking to trade Romo, considering that there is a belief in a big market for the quarterback this offseason.
The Bills still have Tyrod Taylor on the roster, with his extension -- and subsequent $30.5 million in guaranteed money owed by the Bills -- looming around the corner. The report says that the Bills "have not given up hope" on bringing back Taylor but on a restructured contract.
As for Romo, LaCanfora says the quarterback prefers to go to a contending team and lists the Houston Texans, Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos, and Kansas City Chiefs as potential desired landing spots.
The Bills have yet to make a decision on Taylor but have until the third day of the league year to release him from his contract.
Joe B's Take
We officially have the fuel for questions like, 'Are the Bills interested in Player X,' for each and every quarterback that might become available this offseason.
The reported interest in Romo isn't surprising, given the pressure that GM Doug Whaley could find himself under for the upcoming season. With new head coach Sean McDermott having much more time to prove his worth in the organization, the Bills have a pretty clear question facing them at quarterback.
Taylor was Rex Ryan's guy, and with everything that happened near the end of the season after Rex's departure, it certainly did not seem like a situation that showed belief in the quarterback from the GM Whaley. Given all of that, it would be doubtful that Whaley would want to hitch his wagon to a quarterback he may not have full belief in, with his job potentially on the line in the next year or two.
As for Romo, there are two big questions that need to be answered.
The first: Do the Bills have the team surrounding Romo to make it deep into the playoffs?
That would be the only reason to acquire Romo, who has battled numerous injuries and seems to be getting near the end of his career. While the Bills will return a solid core along the offensive line, a great running back, and a potentially game-breaking wide receiver, the defense still has legitimate issues. Can the Romo/Sean McDermott combination help hide those weaknesses? There's certainly a case to be made for that.
It does, however, go against Doug Whaley's comments in building a long-term recipe for success. Bringing in the soon-to-be 37-year old quarterback is good for the next year or two, but that's more of a band-aid on the franchise. It would afford them the opportunity to take a quarterback in the first two rounds, develop that player, and hope they are the answer for the long-term.
The second big question is even more important: Would Romo even want to come to Buffalo?
While, yes, the Cowboys don't technically have to clear the team that they trade Romo to by the quarterback, it certainly seems like a situation that his former team will respect his wishes, all the while not doing anything to jeopardize the franchise. Teams like the Texans, Cardinals, Broncos, and Chiefs all seem to have a more fruitful situation for 2017 than the Bills.
All in all, I think Romo with the Bills can help vault them into the playoffs in 2017 and I believe they should consider it if they can get the job done -- but only if they don't completely mortgage the future by giving up multiple big picks, and as long as they have a long-term plan in place for the position at the same time as Romo's existence in Buffalo.
However, I do have my doubts -- with all the other teams that have better rosters who are also in need of a quarterback -- that Romo will look at Buffalo and say, "that's where I want to be." If all the other hurdles are cleared, that may be the biggest to ultimately land the biggest quarterback fish of the offseason.