DALLAS — The Dallas Cowboys’ search for a quarterback in the coming weeks will focus on whether to keep Tony Romo or move on from him, team president Stephen Jones said Monday.
The Cowboys will have no official word on whether they will trade Romo or let him go, Jones said on a conference call with reporters.
If the Cowboys decide to move on, it will be because they have a quarterback with their final pick in the 2018 NFL draft, and there is no clear way to replace Romo without getting rid of him.
They could try to trade him, or they could wait and see how the market plays out.
If they don’t trade him they’ll have to wait and find someone else to take his spot, Jones added.
If they trade him the Cowboys would have to figure out who would replace him.
That would be a tough call because Romo is one of the most highly regarded players in the NFL, but he has yet to win a Super Bowl and has never been a Pro Bowl player.
He has played in just one game.
The Cowboys could also consider trading him because he would likely want to return to the team and make a significant contribution to the future.
The team’s other quarterback, Matt Cassel, was also hurt in Sunday’s win over the San Francisco 49ers.
Cassel had surgery Monday and is expected to miss several weeks.
Dallas is trying to avoid a repeat of the disastrous season in which Romo was benched for the final two games of the regular season.
The team has lost nine straight and has missed the playoffs for the first time since the 2002 season.
Romo was hurt on a fourth-quarter drive with 10:35 remaining Sunday in the Cowboys’ 24-20 loss to the San Diego Chargers.
He was immediately benched after the game.
After the game, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he didn’t know whether Romo was hurt because he was “looking at the tape and watching the tape.”
Garrett said he was not sure if Romo had a concussion.
The NFL Network reported Monday that the Cowboys plan to interview Romo in person at the NFL owners meetings in Las Vegas.
The meeting begins Tuesday.
If Romo is unable to play, he could play a limited amount of time, but would not be eligible to play in the playoffs, according to the NFL’s rule book.
The league has said the Cowboys could take him off the active roster if he doesn’t play in his remaining three regular-season games, but Romo could still be traded if he is out for more than two weeks.
He could be traded after his first two regular-year games, which would mean the Cowboys wouldn’t have to pay a player for playing in a game that Romo had missed the entire season.
In a tweet Monday, Jones thanked the NFL for allowing him to “take time to process this news and to let us know how important Tony Romo is to us.”
This news is a major blow to our team, our organization, and our players, said Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones.
He said the team will do everything in its power to make sure Tony Romo’s future is clear.
He has been an absolute pleasure to work with.
We will work tirelessly to make this happen.