INDIANAPOLIS -- On a day in which the top quarterbacks available in the draft -- Carson Wentz, Jared Goff and Paxton Lynch -- worked out at the NFL scouting combine, Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones reaffirmed his faith in Tony Romo.
"What is the one unequivocable fact that you can count on relative to the preparation of this draft and on draft day is that I'm planning on Romo being the quarterback for the next four or five years," Jones said during a more than one-hour long interview on the team's luxury bus from the scouting combine on Saturday. "That's a fact. You won't see a decision on draft day that will fly in the face of not believing, from our standpoint, that he'll be our quarterback for four or five years."
Romo said Saturday he will likely have a plate surgically-implanted to help fortify a left collarbone that was broken twice in 2015 and three times since 2010 pending the results of a CT scan in the upcoming week. Romo, who turns 36 in April, missed 12 games in 2015 because of the collarbone injuries and a game each in 2013 and '14 because of back injuries.
Jones said he believes Romo "will be doing the heavy lifting for us at quarterback and for the team for the next four or five years."
The timeframe would indicate the team would rather have more impactful help in 2016 from their early picks in the draft to help return them to the playoffs after a 4-12 finish in 2015. A first-round pick signs a fully guaranteed, four-year contract and the team holds a fifth-year option as well. By the time the team would need to make a decision on the option in 2019, it could cost as much as $20 million.
The Cowboys have needs all across their defense as well as at running back and wide receiver. When asked if he thought there was a quarterback worthy of the fourth overall pick, Jones said, "I don't know."
Wentz and Goff are considered by most to be top-10 picks, followed by Lynch. The Cowboys could look in the second and third round for help.
Since Troy Aikman's retirement in 2000, the Cowboys have drafted only two quarterbacks: Quincy Carter in the second round in 2001 and Stephen McGee in the fourth round in 2009. Since Jones took over the team in 1989, they have drafted only five quarterbacks: Aikman, Steve Walsh (1990 supplemental) and Billy Musgrave (1991). The Cowboys landed Romo as an undrafted free agent in 2003.
Jones admitted there is some temptation.
"When you've got this high a pick and you have the circumstances we're in right now with where we are as a team and with the quarterback, you've got to look at what's available to us for sure and knowing that with these qualities of picks you can get some contributions, immediate contributions and should be significant with where that is," Jones said. "I couldn't tell you today at all how we might make the decision. This is one of those that might not be made until we're down to the last 10 seconds on the clock."
As for the potential impending surgery, Jones said the communication between he, Romo and the medical staff has been great.
"There is no angst on my part," Jones said.
Draft plans are always fluid, but Jones continues to back Romo.
"There's no one breathing that has any idea at this time what we're going to do with that first pick because I don't," Jones said. "And there's nobody you could talk to that thinks they're leaning that way to do that because I'm giving you the lean right now. I think Romo is going to be our quarterback for four or five years and we'll make all decisions accordingly."