FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- In the New York Jets' perfect world, Bryce Petty would crush his audition (whenever it happens), earning the trust of the organization and positioning himself to be the 2017 starter.
Nice. Seamless. A stress-free offseason.
Problem is, this perfect-world place hasn't existed for the Jets since the night of Jan. 12, 1969, when Joe Namath trotted off the field in Miami's Orange Bowl, flashing the No. 1 sign after capturing Super Bowl III.
In other words, there's a good chance the Jets will be looking for a quarterback in the offseason, which brings us to the name on everybody's lips: Tony Romo.
Should the Jets consider the former Dallas Cowboys starter if he becomes available? Yes, they should, but it depends on how they approach the offseason.
Could they get him? Unlikely.
Everybody's initial thought on Romo is that he's too old (he'll be 37 in April), too brittle and too expensive, and that he'd be a one-year Band-Aid. Essentially, he'd be a hired gun, the 2017 version of Brett Favre, who teased the Jets with an 8-3 start in 2008 before his right arm fell off.
Every year, the quarterback market is like a used-car lot. Each one has dents and imperfections -- injuries, physical shortcomings, mental scars, etc. Barring a collapse by rookie phenom Dak Prescott, Romo will be added to the lot because the Cowboys can't afford to keep him as a backup and because his body keeps breaking down. He has a twice-fractured collarbone and, most recently, a compression fracture of his L1 vertebra.
Fragile and old aren't a good combination in a blood sport like football, but what if he winds up riding the bench for the rest of the season? He'd be well-rested, healed and highly motivated. At the very least, he'd be worth exploring. It would be wrong to simply dismiss him because, if healthy, he'd be their best quarterback since, well, Favre.
Coach Todd Bowles, a former Cowboys assistant, has insight into Romo because he was around him from 2005 to 2007, when the quarterback went from a nobody to a legitimate star. And Bowles likes surrounding himself with people he knows. So there's that.
Owner Woody Johnson likes marquee names at the quarterback position, and Romo -- with his big-market personality -- would be able to handle New York. The Jets are looking at six straight seasons out of the playoffs, and it would be hard to sell hope to a frustrated fan base when there's no buzz at the quarterback position.
The big question is, would Romo fit from a team-building standpoint?
If general manager Mike Maccagnan stays in win-now mode, trying to re-load with established veterans, yes, Romo would be worth the gamble. If Maccagnan focuses on a youth movement, no, it wouldn't make sense to add a 37-year-old quarterback. The injury risk and salary cost wouldn't justify the potential reward. Rome wasn't built in a day, and Romo wouldn't rebuild the Jets in a year under those circumstances.
Considering the sorry state of the team, the latter approach makes the most sense.
If the Jets were to pursue Romo, it wouldn't be easy to get him.
Because of the cap ramifications, the Cowboys might not be able to trade Romo, who has three years and $54 million remaining on his contract (including an affordable, non-guaranteed $14 million in 2017). They'd get hit with a $19.6 million charge, saving only $5.1 million.
The cap-friendliest separation would be to release him with a June 1 designation, which can be done before June 1. This way, they'd incur "only" a $10.7 million charge, realizing a $14 million savings.
Romo would be free to sign with any team, but ask yourself this: Why would he pick the Jets over a team like, say, the Denver Broncos, where he'd have a chance to pull a Peyton Manning and ride off as a champion? The Jets won't be a Super Bowl contender in 2017. They can offer him money and the lure of the New York market, but that's about it.
Again, any interest in Romo would come down to a larger issue -- the direction this regime wants to take the franchise. If it's an all-in approach in '17, they should give Jerry Jones a call.