It's not often that a player once regarded as a franchise quarterback hits the free-agent market. Yet, according to ESPN's Todd Archer, that is the most likely scenario for Tony Romo. Even if the Dallas Cowboys are able to find a trade partner instead of cutting Romo, the cost likely won't be too high.
Although the fortunes of their longtime teams in their final seasons could not be more different, Romo's free-agency foray would be pretty similar to Peyton Manning's after the 2011 season. Manning missed the entire season for Indianapolis with a nerve issue in his neck, and there were whispers about how he would come back. There's nothing NFL general managers are happier about than certainty, and given Romo's recent injury history, he can't be counted on to stay healthy.
However, that is the reason he's available in the first place. Players as good as Romo don't become available without mitigating factors. Brett Favre and Drew Brees moved on because their franchises had Aaron Rodgers and Philip Rivers waiting in the wings. Manning moved on because the Colts had the No. 1 overall pick in a draft class that included Andrew Luck.
Romo, who will turn 37 in April, isn't Manning -- but he's still a very good quarterback in a league with a short supply of them. Statistically, Romo's last healthy season in Dallas compares favorably to Manning's in Indianapolis -- though in context Manning's season was better because he engineered the offense on his own.
Here are the teams that should be in the market for Romo's services this offseason: