Cowboys' QB debate will be a fascinating watch in offseason

IRVING, Texas -- Jason Garrett believes Tony Romo has a lot of football left in him. Jerry Jones can see Romo as the Dallas Cowboys' quarterback for another 4-5 years while acknowledging the need to find a better backup and possible successor.

There will be plenty of time to dissect whom the Cowboys should draft once all of the college players declare their intentions. Before that the Cowboys will have to debate their course of action, according to executive vice president Stephen Jones.

“I think Jerry and I will put our heads together with Jason and (senior director college/pro personnel Will McClay) and what we did this year didn’t work,” Jones said. “There’s no denying that. When something doesn’t work and bites you in the butt like it did, we’ve got to re-look at everything. I think that will be one of the big, big discussions of ours in the offseason, what our strategy is there.”

The Cowboys have drafted two quarterbacks since 1991, and none since taking Stephen McGee in the fourth round in 2009. McGee did not make it through his rookie contract.

Drafting a quarterback high is not always the answer either. For all the successes of Andrew Luck, Cam Newton and apparent successes of Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles, there are the failures of EJ Manuel, Brandon Weeden, Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder.

There is also the question of playing a quarterback right away or letting him sit to develop.

“I think that’s to be debated,” Jones said. “Obviously there’s some guys who don’t play, like Denver’s guy, (Brock) Osweiler, coming in here for two games and he’s played pretty good, won two games. You say, ‘Well did he develop?’ The offseasons and seeing it and watching from the sidelines, there’s a lot of people who believe that’s good for players. Obviously Aaron Rodgers sat behind Brett Favre for a long time. Tony watched for years before he got thrown in.

“There’s a school of thought that that can be a good thing.”

But other quarterbacks, like Andy Dalton, Derek Carr, Bridgewater and Bortles played right away and seem to have benefited.

“We’ve got to re-look at everything and we will,” Jones said.

Romo turns 36 in April and is signed through 2019. He is recovering from his second broken left collarbone this season.

If the Cowboys have a top 5-10 pick in next spring’s draft, do they go after a quarterback? Currently 23 starting quarterbacks were former first- or second-round picks although not necessarily with the team that drafted them.

Or would the Cowboys look at another position to help maximize Romo’s final years?

“That’s always at the end of the day what tears at you,” Jones said. “If we end up picking high then you have to debate it and if there’s a guy there that we like, would you take him knowing that we’ve got an older quarterback, who has been hurt? So that’s a valuable piece versus getting some big-time pass rusher, big-time running back, big-time receiver. If you’re picking high, those guys are sitting there.”

The Cowboys don’t need the answer today, but how they get their answer will be fascinating to watch.