The top five NFL offseason stories, leading with Tony Romo’s uncertain future

Super Bowl LI reinforced the long-standing notion that having a top quarterback is the easiest way to win a championship. Matt Ryan and Tom Brady finished 1-2 in the MVP race, and they met in the Super Bowl.

If you don’t have a quarterback, it’s hard to get one. That’s how Brock Osweiler got a $72 million contract from the Houston Texans and that’s why the Minnesota Vikings were willing to trade a first-round pick for Sam Bradford and his bloated deal. And that’s why the Tony Romo sweepstakes will be the most interesting story of the NFL offseason.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he doesn’t know what will happen, but it seems hard to believe that Romo will be back in Dallas. The Cowboys probably don’t want to spend that much money on a backup, they don’t want Dak Prescott having to deal with the constant speculation about Romo getting his job back, and Romo clearly doesn’t want to be a backup. The issue right now might be finding a perfect trade partner. That’s not an easy question to answer.

Tony Romo is unlikely to be back with the Cowboys next season. (AP)

Here are the top five stories to watch this offseason:

1. Where will Tony Romo go?

Let’s assume Romo gets traded or cut. If Romo does return to Dallas, that might be an even bigger story than if he gets traded. But if we figure he won’t be back, where will he go?

The Denver Broncos seem to be the most obvious solution, because they need to fix their offense and they’ve been down a similar road with Peyton Manning. That worked out well. The Broncos, however, have expressed that they want to go forward with 2016 first-round pick Paxton Lynch and Trevor Siemian, last year’s starter. If that’s true – and there are good reasons it would be true, starting with the salary discrepancy between those two and Romo – it eliminates the most obvious suitor.

The Texans seem like a possibility, though it’s hard to admit a huge monetary mistake and stick Osweiler on the bench. There aren’t many other teams that need a quarterback and would be contenders even with Romo, and why would Romo want to play for a non-contender? The Buffalo Bills might need a quarterback. The New York Jets, Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers are among the teams that will be looking for a new quarterback, but they’re all among the worst teams in the league. There’s also the issue of fair trade…