INTERESTING, I MUST SAY … RANDY
Tony Romo and Tashard Choice: Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys and Trains
By Freddy Blair
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It sent Herschel Walker to the Minnesota Vikings, and a whole slew of picks for the 1990 NFL Draft to the Dallas Cowboys in return.
With those picks, Jimmy Johnson established a base that would lead to a dynasty in the early ’90s for the Dallas Cowboys. For the Vikings, however, it didn’t turn out so well.
This time, there is a way that both the Vikings and the Cowboys could prevail—so long as their coaching and leadership are sufficient.
As the 2010 season came to a close, so did a window of opportunity for the Dallas Cowboys to return to the elite status of the NFL. An aging offensive line and a suspect defense leave their future in question.
For the Minnesota Vikings, they also experienced the end of an era with Brad Childress, but their capability to return to the top of the NFL is contingent only upon finding a leader for their talented offense.
Four years of embarrassing defeats and failed expectations have brought another chapter in the Cowboys’ storied history to a close, while the Vikings nearly made the Super Bowl in 2010, and still possess the ability to return there.
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Now that Jason Garrett has been named as the next head coach of the Cowboys, the business of planning for the future begins. It’s a future that will be, and has already been, influenced by the NFL’s impending lockout and the negotiations of the collective bargaining agreement between the players union and the NFL owners.
With Leslie Frazier almost certainly able to ensure that the Vikings’ defensive prowess will remain intact, he only needs to find the pieces to the puzzle to finish out an offense that has been dependent on an aged quarterback that held the Vikings’ future hostage for the 2010 season while he decided if he wanted to play.
Due to the uncertainty surrounding the 2011 season caused by these issues, the ability of teams to make changes and plan for the future is impaired considerably. It was that uncertainty that likely played a major role in Jerry Jones’ decision to make Jason Garrett the next head coach of the Cowboys, rather than risk hiring an outside source that might not be able to prepare the Cowboys in a strike-shortened season.
Some would say that it is for that reason that the Cowboys should hold on to the talent they have, as well as the difficulty that might be expected in replacing a franchise quarterback, but the pros of what I am about to suggest strongly outweigh the cons.
While the Vikings are pretty much assured of keeping their defensive prowess intact, the Dallas Cowboys will begin to rebuild theirs completely—with only a few bright spots to hold the line while rebuilding takes place.
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Add to the uncertainty of the real ability of Jason Garrett to direct the Cowboys offense—his record isn’t so great—and the Cowboys need a year of organizational rebuilding much more than they need to hold on to a dream that ended with the 2010 season.
With that in mind, I have an idea; some may flinch at first, but the reasoning is sound.
I think that the Dallas Cowboys should make another “Great Train Robbery” trade with the Minnesota Vikings, sending Tony Romo and Tashard Choice to the Vikings for their first two picks of the 2011 draft, as well as their first pick in the 2012 draft. It is a fair deal for both teams, and both have much to benefit from the trade—as well as do Romo and Choice.
The Vikings are arguably still only a quarterback away from a Super Bowl—which is why they desperately invested $20 million in the aging Brett Favre in the hopes that he could put together one more great season like the one in 2009 in which the Vikings narrowly missed the Super Bowl when the Vikings were defeated by the Saints in the NFC Championship Game.
But the Cowboys are on the verge of rebuilding. Their offensive line is aging, and their defense is suspect after losing Wade Phillips‘ direction in the midseason collapse of 2010 that saw Jerry Jones name Jason Garrett as the interim head coach after the Cowboys got off to a miserable 1-7 start.
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With Garrett now searching for a staff to help him guide the Cowboys, the likelihood of the Cowboys regaining their 2009 form in which they made it to the divisional round of the playoffs before being slaughtered by the Vikings is doubtful at best.
Garrett’s offensive leadership is questionable, and even without that factor, the questions surrounding the offensive linemen and the Cowboys defensive secondary will make returning to any sort of competitive form highly unlikely.
With the Cowboys already in possession of the ninth pick in the 2011 draft, a trade with Minnesota (12th pick) would ensure them four picks in the first 44 slots of the draft, and two first-round picks in the 2012 draft. If Jason Garrett is truly the second coming of Jimmy Johnson, that kind of draft might be what he could use to propel his version of the “Cowboy way” into NFL and Cowboys franchise history.
This may be the right time for the Cowboys to find a franchise quarterback in the draft that could truly complement young Dez Bryant for the next 12-15 years.
The Vikings cannot hope to find mature help from the 2011 draft that will make a difference with the talent they already possess, and both Romo and Choice would bring more value than a first or second-round pick. The result would solidify the Vikings and bolster an already talented squad, and Choice would provide a boost to assist Adrian Peterson in the Vikings run game.
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By the 2012 draft, the Cowboys will be more prepared to judge their future, after experiencing their first full year under Jason Garrett’s philosophies. With John Kitna showing that he can carry the load at quarterback when he filled in for Romo after his season-ending injury in the fifth game of 2010, the Cowboys could be confident that they would have veteran leadership to carry them until a new franchise quarterback could be developed.
And, for Romo and Choice, they could certainly re-negotiate their contracts with Minnesota to make playing in the Metrodome a successful and profitable experience for them and the Vikings. While Romo is already under contract for three more years, Tashard Choice is a restricted free agent, and renegotiation is imminent.
Leslie Frasier’s first year as the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings might well be a Super Bowl run with the talent that Romo and Choice could add to an already stacked lineup.
With Kitna at the helm in Dallas and Jason Garrett in his first year with a brand new defense, I doubt the Cowboys and their fans would even tell a difference in having Romo or not having him. Tashard Choice has been wasted by Garrett for the past two years, so stretching his legs in Minnesota before his career passes him by might be exactly what he needs.
The Great Train Robbery, Part II. It might be just what the doctor ordered.
And that’s the bottom line.