Cleat Geeks

Romo Done for this Year, but what about Career?

Friday’s news that Tony Romo is out for the rest of the 2015 season surprised nobody who saw him go down against the Carolina Panthers.romo

It was obvious to pretty much everybody he re-injured his collarbone. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has now confirmed that he has a hairline fracture of that same collarbone and will miss the rest of the season. The good news is that surgery won’t be required. Romo should be healthy for the 2016 season.

But we’re also entering a stage in which we can’t be too sure if Romo will be the same quarterback we’re used to seeing. Before I have to hear all the millions of Romo jokes, look at his numbers and realize, he has been a very good quarterback for a very long time. His 97.1 passer rating ranks third all time, trailing only Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson. The next three guys behind Romo are Steve Young, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. There should be no debate that Romo has been a fantastic quarterback. What we will debate is if he is still a franchise quarterback.

In 2016, Romo will be a 36-year-old quarterback with a growing injury history. He had two back surgeries between 2013 and 2014. He has missed time on three separate occasions with a broken collarbone. Those instances were; most of the 2010 season, from Weeks 3-10 this season and the remainder of this season.

Even if Romo stays healthy, it’s fair to wonder if his play will slip soon. Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning (until this season) prove that you can still be a quarterback at age 36 and beyond, but everyone is different. It’s a tiny sample size and it’s clear Romo came back too soon from his initial collarbone injury, but his rating did dip from 113.2 last season to 79.4 this year. It’s the only time in his NFL career he’ll finish a season with a passer rating of less than 90. There are many possible reasons for that drop which have nothing to do with how he’ll play in 2016, but it’s at least worth noting.

Most likely Romo still has at least a couple above average years left. The Cowboys have a great line to protect him and one has to believe Jones will go into the 2016 off-season believing his team’s championship window has only slightly closed and invest accordingly. Part of that plan revolves around being one of the dozen or so teams that feels it can depend on a Pro Bowl-level performance from its quarterback. And as the Cowboys have shown this season, if your quarterback is not Tony Romo, the stars shine gets really dim.

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