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What’s next for Tony Romo?

With the Chiefs not being interested in Tony Romo, it leaves the Broncos and Texans battling for the former Cowboys starter. Where will he sign?

The Cowboys tried to finagle a trade for quarterback Tony Romo, via a string of coy and at times inconsistent comments and leaks from the team (recently, they got at least one media member to go with the idea that they’re in no hurry to resolve the situation). Ultimately, a trade didn’t work out, and the Cowboys did what they should have done all along, given the unique circumstances of the case.

The circumstances of the case remain unique as Romo becomes a free agent for the first time since he signed with the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent nearly 14 years ago. He had been due to make $14 million this year, but any team that signs him will want protections against Romo getting injured again. And Tony is sufficiently reasonable to recognize the fairness of that approach.

The Broncos and Texans have emerged as the primary destinations, in the estimation of the media. Romo, per a source with knowledge of the situation, will weigh all options. And that could (key word “could”) include some teams that have yet to be publicly identified.

It has been believed that Romo would agree to avoid certain of those options in exchange for the team’s decision to cut him loose early in the league year. Under the designation of the transaction, the Cowboys will realize no benefit from cutting Romo until June 1. They could have dragged this out at least until the start of the offseason program, if they had wanted to continue to try to leverage a trade.

The Texans have not yet said anything about wanting, or not wanting, Romo. After he conceded the starting job to Dak Prescott during a November press conference, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle said on PFT Live that the Texans would not pursue Romo. If they do, they’ll have to navigate the second year of Brock Osweiler’s contract, which pays out $16 million this year.

The Broncos gradually have emerged as a viable destination for Romo, but they’ll surely want to proceed on their own terms. They drove a hard bargain last year with Colin Kaepernick, and ultimately didn’t sign him. This year, the dilemma arises from the desire to win now with Romo versus the importance of building for the future with Paxton Lynch or Trevor Siemian.