Could Romo retirement have ripple effect on Garoppolo, Patriots?


Admit it. We're a provincial bunch here in New England.

That's why when it was reported that Tony Romo will be going into broadcasting, your first question was, "How does this impact the Patriots?" Nothing wrong with that. 

The answer, as I see it? Indirectly, but not insignificantly. 

What it does -- if Romo is able to commit to his new gig as Phil Simms' replacement at CBS -- is remove one bona fide starter from the list of options for two of the teams who project to be among the top contenders to dethrone the Patriots in the AFC: Houston and Denver.

Both of those rosters are loaded defensively and have explosive weapons on the offensive side. Yet both also have glaring question marks at the sport's most important position, and Romo was, in theory, the best available solution. 

The Texans seemed to be particularly enamored. The Houston Chronicle says that they were waiting on the man who spent more than a decade a couple hundred miles up the road in Dallas. They had cap space. There were other (albeit less attractive) options in free agency, but they sat tight, hoping for the Cowboys to release their guy. 

Didn't happen.

Now, after trading away Brock Osweiler to simply get out from under the weight of his contract, coach Bill O'Brien's club appears set to move forward with Tom Savage as its quarterback.

The Broncos and John Elway, meanwhile, were cooler on the idea of bringing in a veteran who would stifle the development of rostered quarterbacks Trevor Siemien and Paxton Lynch. For the right price, maybe, were the rumblings. But there is little doubt that a healthy Romo would have been a short-term upgrade for a gifted defensive core that isn't getting any younger. 

What now? What are the options in Houston and Denver if they want to go outside the organization for a quarterback? The choices are down to Jay Cutler, Colin Kaepernick or one of the top signal-callers in the draft, which is a decidedly unimpressive group, according to the experts. 

Then there's Jimmy Garoppolo. 

The Patriots aren't shopping their fourth-year backup, and ESPN has reported that Garoppolo couldn't be pried away from Gillette Stadium even with a trade that would land Bill Belichick four first-round picks. 

But if we assume that every player has a price, then it's simple economics. The supply of dependable quarterbacks has taken a hit with Romo's retirement. The demand hasn't changed. That means the price for Garoppolo -- if there is one -- just went up. Right?

Maybe, but I'm not necessarily convinced. 

It's hard to envision Belichick being willing to deal Garoppolo to one of his chief rivals in the AFC so that would mean the Texans and Broncos (and Jets, if you want to lump them in) would all be off-limits.

The Bears and Niners, given their moves this offseason, look happy to wait for next year to draft their future face of the franchise.

Cleveland, in some ways, has long felt like the only team that could make a viable play for Garoppolo due to its stockpile of draft picks and its standing as one of the league's worst teams. Romo was never headed there, so his retirement -- while perhaps a bit of good news for the Patriots and others in the conference who won't have to deal with him -- seems like a non-factor when it comes to the future of Brady's backup.

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