Updating the QB market minus Tony Romo: Shoppers and options

Tony Romo was the next big domino in the NFL's offseason quarterback saga. But instead of falling forward and knocking over the dominoes to come, this one fell sideways and off the table.

Romo's decision to step away from football and go into broadcasting eliminates the best remaining option for teams still in need of a quarterback. With that in mind, let's quickly restack the quarterback market for 2017, looking at the teams still in need and the choices remaining for them. One thing is clear: It's still difficult to say any obvious fits exist for the likes of Jay Cutler and Colin Kaepernick.

Teams that had been rumored Romo options

Houston Texans

This was the most logical destination for Romo. The Texans traded Brock Osweiler, who just last year was signed to be their quarterback of the future, and their current depth chart consists of 2014 fourth-round pick Tom Savage and career backup Brandon Weeden. There are indications they were the team most eager for Dallas to release Romo so they could sign him. With Romo gone, the Texans need to take a second look at veteran options such as Cutler and Kaepernick, who remain unsigned. They need to assess the trade availability of backups like A.J. McCarron, Jimmy Garoppolo and Christian Hackenberg, and whether anyone like that would be an upgrade over what they have.

Houston believes it's a playoff team as is, and a quarterback away from being a real championship contender. Romo, had he signed and stayed healthy, was their top solution.

Denver Broncos

Throughout the Romo saga, many people on the outside assumed Denver would pounce once Romo was released. After all, that's what John Elway did when Peyton Manning hit the market in 2012. A playoff-caliber team with major questions at quarterback, why wouldn't Denver do that same thing again? But the Broncos' position all along has been that they feel comfortable with young quarterbacks Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch. Siemian was their starter during the 9-7 season they just had, and Lynch was their first-round pick a year ago. The Romo news doesn't change the Broncos' stay-the-course plan at the position.

Cleveland Browns

Well, they have Osweiler. And while the expectation since they acquired him has been that they would trade or release him, he's the best option right now on a depth chart that includes 2016 third-round pick Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan. Romo was never likely to consider Cleveland as a destination, so Tuesday's news doesn't change anything for the Browns. But if they have their eye on a trade target like McCarron, they could end up having fresh competition. Expect the Browns to look for a quarterback in the draft later this month.

San Francisco 49ers

Again, this wasn't a potential Romo destination. And Kyle Shanahan may be comfortable running Brian Hoyer out there this year while waiting out Kirk Cousins. But it wouldn't be a shock to see the 49ers look at the position in the draft.

New York Jets

Ostensibly, Josh McCown is slated to start. Hackenberg and Bryce Petty are unknowns. The Jets probably will look to the draft for a quarterback, but they don't appear to be in the market for the likes of Cutler and Kaepernick, and they weren't a team Romo was likely to find appealing.

Arizona Cardinals

There are a few teams with aging quarterbacks who are starting to at least think about their future at the position: the Giants, Steelers, Saints, etc. But of the teams in that group, the Cardinals may be in the most precarious short-term scenario. Carson Palmer is no guarantee to stay healthy, and he's coming off a down year even if he is healthy. It wouldn't be a shock to see Arizona draft a quarterback in the first round, and there are people in the league who wouldn't be shocked to see the Cardinals add a Cutler or Kaepernick to their mix as a viable starting option should something happen to Palmer this year.

It's possible Arizona was waiting in the wings as a Romo sleeper and now moves on to Plan B. Don't be surprised.

Teams thinking long term

Some teams will consider addressing the quarterback position in the draft even if they don't feel they have a short-term need. NFL evaluators like this year's quarterback draft class, even as they believe it may not include a surefire 2017 starter. So in addition to the Giants, Steelers, Saints and Cardinals, don't be surprised if you see teams like the Chiefs, Bears, Bills and Chargers take quarterbacks in one of the early rounds.

These are teams that feel as if they know their 2017 starter but aren't sure about his long-range viability. If you're, say, Kansas City and you have a QB prospect you like, you can't be worried about how Alex Smith will handle it. You have to think long term.

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