Tony Romo hasn’t been perfect, but he’s thrown for the third-most amount of yards in the league and is in the middle-of-the-pack when it comes to QBR, ranking 15th. Add in the fact that the Dallas Cowboys have been injury-riddled, especially on offense, and maybe Romo’s been doing all right with the situation he’s been put in.
However, there’s always a fall guy for a disappointing season, and the quarterback tends to be that guy. Romo is getting up there in age at 32 and he is under contract for only one more season.
Jerry Jones might be willing to give Romo one more shot, but going after Alex Smith would be a solid option if that isn’t the case. When healthy, the stars on the Dallas offense—Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and DeMarco Murray—are as explosive as any other wide receiver/running back group, and Dallas has a top 10 defense in terms of yards given up per game.
The college prospects this year at QB haven’t been impressive, but it seems likely that Jerry Jones will opt to take one of them in the upcoming NFL Draft. Otherwise, if he thinks that all the Cowboys need at QB to reach the playoffs is a game manager who won’t turn the ball over then Alex Smith would be his guy.
5. Cleveland Browns
It’s been a quarterback carousel in Cleveland the past few years. Brandon Weeden, Colt McCoy, Seneca Wallace, Jake Delhomme, Brady Quinn, Derek Anderson…All of those quarterbacks have played significant minutes for the Browns since the 2009 season.
Looking at Cleveland’s current QB, Weeden is just a rookie, but he’s a year older than Smith and he’s been atrocious this season. He has 12 TD passes to go along with 13 interceptions and his completion percentage is barely above Sanchez’ at 55.9 percent.
To be fair, Weeden does not have one of the better receiving corps in the NFL with Josh Gordon, Greg Little and Benjamin Watson as his featured targets. But that’s not enough to make up for his poor performances this season.
It’d be embarrassing for Cleveland’s front office to essentially admit that drafting Weeden with a first-round pick was a mistake, but Weeden’s four-year deal is only worth $8.1 million.
With an explosive running back in Trent Richardson, the Browns are set in the backfield, and Josh Gordon also has proven to be a solid rookie. Thus, if Cleveland were to trade for Smith and focus on adding another WR in the draft or through free agency, then perhaps the Browns could legitimately be a team that warrants preparation from its opponents next season.
4. Philadelphia Eagles
Before the 2012 season started, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said that another 8-8 record would not be good enough. Well, the Eagles are now 3-8, so 8-8 is the best they could do.
With that in mind, it is almost a certainty that Andy Reid is on his way out of Philadelphia.
As for who is going to be the starting QB in Philly next season, that is unclear.
This is probably Michael Vick’s last season with the Eagles according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Nick Foles has struggled so far this year, throwing three interceptions compared to just one touchdown
How he finishes out the year should determine what the Eagles decide to do at the QB position. If the front office doesn’t feel confident in his ability, then Alex Smith would have to be at the top of their list.
3. Buffalo Bills
The Bills were hyped up before the 2012 season started since they added Mario Williams and Mark Anderson to their defense, but the Bills are currently 4-7 and their defense has been giving up an average of 29 points per game.
Buffalo essentially has the same problem that the New York Jets do with Mark Sanchez. Ryan Fitzpatrick received a six-year contract extension worth $59 million in 2011 that includes $24 million in guaranteed money. If the Bills want to compete in the market for Smith, they’ll have to be willing to throw away a lot of money.
But Smith would be a huge improvement over Fitzpatrick. The Harvard product has a quick release, which helps avoid sacks, but he has thrown 11 interceptions and fumbled the ball five times this season.
Buffalo has a terrific running duo in C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson and a star wideout in Stevie Johnson, so Smith would have plenty to work with on offense. If the Bills were to acquire the 49ers QB then they could focus the rest of their time and money on improving their defense.