Each NFL team's offseason is filled with small moves and marginal personnel decisions. Sometimes, that series of small moves will build a winner. But a big, bold move can help dramatically -- by improving talent at an important position or changing the overall direction of the franchise.
This week, we'll be suggesting a bold move for each team. Some of these are realistic; others are more far-fetched, but each would provide a significant change and improve a team's chances of winning future Super Bowls.
As a reminder, Football Outsiders' DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) metric takes every play during the season and compares it to a baseline adjusted for situation and opponent. It is explained further here and will be referenced below.
Moves are suggested for each team independently of those suggested for other teams. Below are bold moves for each NFC team, with the AFC article published here.
Keep quarterback Tony Romo
With QB Dak Prescott leading the team to 13 wins and a No. 1 seed in his first season, why should the Cowboys keep Romo (and his $24.7 million cap number) in Dallas? Here's one reason: Connor Cook. Here's another: Matt Moore. And a third: Brock Osweiler. When Derek Carr, Ryan Tannehill and Tom Savage went down with injuries for the Raiders, Dolphins and Texans, a quarter of the teams in the 2016 playoffs were realistically eliminated before the postseason even began. With Romo on the roster, the Cowboys would still be playoff contenders even if injury were to strike Prescott in his second season.
So the question is not really if the Cowboys should keep Romo, but whether how such a move might be financially feasible. According to OverTheCap.com, the Cowboys have a league-low $4.2 million in cap space. Romo has the biggest 2017 cap hit on the team at $24.7 million. Cutting or trading him now would save the Cowboys more than $5 million in cap space; cutting him after June 1 would save them $14 million.
But while Romo would be cartoonishly overpaid as a backup, the Cowboys might be able to afford it because Prescott is cartoonishly underpaid as a starter. Between Romo, Prescott and Jameill Showers, the Cowboys have a total of $25.8 million in 2017 cap space devoted to the quarterback position. That's a lot, but it's not quite the most in the league -- the Cardinals have $28.3 million devoted to their two quarterbacks, Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton. Keeping Romo might stop the Cowboys from spending big money in free agency, but this team won 13 games last season -- it's not as though they have a lot of holes to fill. -- Vincent Verhei