By Paul Wanecski
And it was near 11am Eastern Standard Time that the NFL Mobile App tried to make the city of Buffalo explode, suggesting that the Buffalo Bills would be interested in Tony Romo and Jay Cutler if discarded from their respective teams. Both players come with major concerns and even bigger contracts, making it amazingly unlikely that the Bills would trade to acquire either of these quarterbacks.
Considering the lengthy contracts that will come in tow with Cutler and Romo, no fan should find concern in a trade for either player; that being said, it is still possible.Actually, if it were solely about money, Cutler will be significantly more affordable than Romo. Outside of the dollar figures attached to both, reviewing their respective resumes draws a very definitive line between them.
Jay Cutler, not that this is worth much, has only been named to one Pro Bowl. At 33 years of age, it is important to note that in the last six seasons he has only thrown for 20 touchdowns twice. He also hasn’t played a full season since 2009. His last (and only playoff appearance) was in 2010. Pro-football-reference humorously compares his career stats to Ken O’Brien, Jon Kitna and Brad Johnson. To be honest, it is hard to determine if it is funny or strangely disturbing. Since 2010, in the seasons where he has played at least twelve games (four times), he has been ranked in the top 10 of most sacked quarterbacks three times, meaning that years that he was actually the starter for the majority of the year, he was among the most sacked quarterbacks in the league 75% of the time. On the opposite side of that, since 2010, Cutler has appeared as a top-10 quarterback in leading comebacks three times. In 2014, he led the league in interceptions. His bounce back season in 2015 saw him throw for seven less interceptions, but also seven less touchdowns. Durability and consistency has been a huge problem over his, at this point, average career. For a player who hasn’t been in the top 10 in passing yards since 2008 (he was ranked third in NFL with 4526 yards, which followed a 2007 campaign when he threw for 3497 yards being ranked 10th in passing yards), he sure is sacked often. Of course his season ending on Injured Reserve this year for a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder can be added to the laundry list of concerns.
Tony Romo has missed very little time since he was named the starter in 2007. Entering his age 37 season and recovering from a cracked vertibre in his neck, Romo has started at least thirteen games seven of the last nine seasons. Career comparisons from Pro-Football-Reference state Carson Palmer, Joe Namath and Roger Staubach. In 2012, Romo threw for 4903 yards, which by comparison is only 434 yards short of Tyrod Taylor’s career passing yardage as a Buffalo Bill as of the date of this article (prior to the Bills vs. Steelers). Romo has appeared in the top-10 sacked quarterbacks three times during his career, the last time being in 2012. Much like Cutler, Romo has appeared in the top-10 comebacks three times. Romo led the league in interceptions the season he threw for over 4900 yards. While he did combine for 19 interceptions the next 30 regular season games, he had an alarming 5.7% interception rate in 2015 (7 ints vs 121 total pass attempts). During his career, Romo would look like a generational player for the Cowboys in one week and then be an absolute disaster the next game. He has also been seen as a choke-artist by the Dallas fan base, where nearly mythical tales of his 2nd half collapses will long outlive his NFL career. To his credit, in the seasons where he has started at least thirteen games (107 games total), Romo has averaged 31.6 touchdowns per full season. It is basically assumed that Romo has lost his job to rookie Dak Prescott.
With all that being said, you may be thinking that if the Bills felt compelled to take on one of these players, the choice may be clear. Unfortunately, trading for either of these players means you will also drag along the contract signed on his previous team. Both Chicago and Dallas will hope to get some return via trade but with little leverage due to the associated dollar figures, it would be a shock to see either player acquired in that fashion. Neither player would be worth what their contract stipulates on the open market, regardless of their respective accomplishments. Long story short, both have at least 3 years remaining on their current deals, however by acquiring the player via trade, Buffalo would have no penalty for releasing them prior to the start of any season. Take in mind that the only thing the Bills would be responsible for against the salary cap would be the salary per year (plus, in Jay Cutler’s case, a roster bonus).
Jay Cutler (credit to OvertheCap.com):
Tony Romo (credit to OvertheCap.com)
As you can see, both are expensive options. Could Buffalo pursue either Cutler or Romo via trade? Extremely unlikely. Would it be more likely they would sign either player on the free agent market? Given the current situation the Buffalo Bills find themselves, the front office and coaches know they need to win immediately. Romo would be your best chance to meet that need but he is just as likely to have a season-ending injury as he is to play 16 games. Romo might be an option to bridge to a drafted quarterback, but we have seen what that looks like before in Buffalo. Have little fear fans of the Buffalo Bills, neither of these players will be riding into town to lead you to the promise land.