On the surface, it’s rather surprising that in a league with 32 teams and fewer than 32 starting-caliber quarterbacks, Jay Cutler and Colin Kaepernick remain unsigned. Age-wise, both are in their prime, and they’ve both accomplished quite a bit in this league.
The 33-year-old Cutler was ranked as a top-10 quarterback in terms of DYAR (Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement) and DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) at Football Outsiders in 2015 before missing much of the 2016 campaign due to injury.
The uber-athletic Kaepernick was one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in football between 2012 and 2014. He isn’t an overly reliable or consistent passer, but his skill set makes him a potential starter, especially because he’s still on the right side of 30.
So why are they still lingering on the open market in a league in which guys named Brian Hoyer, Mike Glennon, Josh McCown, Geno Smith and Matt Barkley have jobs? It’s simple. Both are potential starters, and they wouldn’t come as cheap as those other guys. And right now, nobody in the market for a starting quarterback wants to make a move until the Dallas Cowboys either trade or release Tony Romo and Romo signs with one of them.
Romo, a four-time Pro Bowler who was the league’s highest-rated qualified passer in 2014, would clearly be the best quarterback available this offseason if he were technically available. We all know the Cowboys are done with him bow that Dak Prescott is their guy, but it appears Dallas is holding out for a trade.
The Denver Broncos and Houston Texans are reportedly Romo’s top suitors, with the Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings and Jacksonville Jaguars also potentially in the picture based solely on the fact they need or could soon need quarterbacks.
Romo will likely either eventually be traded to Houston or Denver, or released and signed by one of those two teams. And when that happens, Cutler and Kaepernick will likely compete to become the consolation prize.
Problem is, the Cowboys have no incentive to rush. Romo will likely be designated a post-June 1 release, which means the team doesn’t gain anything by cutting him before that date. So unless someone blows them away with an offer, don’t be surprised if they hold on to Romo for weeks to come.
In the meantime, everybody will continue to wait.