“Obviously if something happens to Tony, we were inept in trying to win games without him (in 2015),” executive vice president Stephen Jones said.
But the Cowboys never really got into the game on signing a free agent to be Romo’s backup. Colt McCoy remained with the Washington Redskins on a three-year, $9 million deal that included a $1.8 million bonus. Chase Daniel left for the Philadelphia Eagles on a three-year, $21 million deal that included $12 million guaranteed.
The best quarterback available in free agency now could be Tarvaris Jackson.
Jones said the Cowboys did not want to get into larger money for a backup even with Romo’s age and health. He is coming off collarbone surgery and has not played a full season since 2012. Romo currently has a $20.835 million salary-cap figure.
“When you’ve got a $20 million quarterback, yeah, I just think you can’t go out there and spend a bunch of money on the backup, big numbers,” Jones said. “Sometimes those guys are going to go to places where maybe the quarterback isn’t so expensive.”
In Miami, starter Ryan Tannehill counts $11.64 million against the cap. In Philadelphia, Sam Bradford counts $12.5 million against the cap. Kirk Cousins counts $19.95 million against the cap, but the Redskins could sign him to a long-term deal to lower that figure greatly.
So do the Cowboys believe they will go into the season with Kellen Moore and an upcoming draft pick as Romo’s backups in 2016?
“No, there will be other options,” Jones said. “You hope to get a young guy to get in the system somewhere. It doesn’t have to be in the first (round). It could be the second or the third. But if we don’t, then there are other ways to acquire quarterbacks.”
In 2010, the Cowboys traded for Jon Kitna, sending cornerback Anthony Henry to the Detroit Lions. The Cowboys also extended Kitna’s contract.
“Everybody thinks you’ve got to cure all your ills here in two weeks and then in three days during the draft,” Jones said. “That’s not how it works. It’s always happening: trades, guys get cut, then you happen to like them. There are a lot of moving parts.”