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Tony Romo retirement shakes up NFL Draft

Everyone has been waiting for Tony Romo to make his next move. Most assumed he would be moving onto another NFL team via free agency, either the Houston Texans or Denver Broncos. Instead, Romo decided to hang up the helmet after 14 years in the arena, going for a job as the lead analyst alongside Jim Nantz on the NFL on CBS.

Romo’s retirement from the Dallas Cowboys leaves a ripple effect in its wake. The Texans, who dealt Brock Osweiler this offseason with the clear idea of landing Romo, now have to figure out what is next. Denver, which never truly tipped its hand on whether or not Romo was in the cards (general manager John Elway was continually coy, leading me to believe he was, at the minimum, intrigued), now moves on with a camp battle of Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch.

However, it is the NFL Draft and the four prospective first-round quarterbacks who will be impacted most. Those young men might be seeing different homes than if Romo did end up getting released by Dallas, thanks to a shifting dynamic that will play out in just over three weeks.

When looking at the order of the team picking and the needs of said franchises, it makes sense to conclude that no quarterback will go off the board before the 12th selection. There, the Cleveland Browns could go for a signal-caller, perhaps targeting Mitchell Trubisky. Trubisky was only a one-year starter with the North Carolina Tar Heels but projects to be a starter soon, maybe even by the end of his rookie campaign.

After Cleveland, the next pick provides drama with the Arizona Cardinals. Arizona disappointed last season but could rebound quickly, despite some tough losses on the defensive side of the ball in free agency. The Cardinals need to think about replacing 37-year-old Carson Palmer, who only has one year left on his contract before it becomes amicable to release. This could be a prime spot for either Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson to come off the board, with the guess here being Mahomes due to head coach Bruce Arians’ love for arm strength.

After that, things get dicey. The Washington Redskins could be looking for a replacement to Kirk Cousins, provided they can’t get a long-term deal done before April 27. If Washington is leaning that direction, the Texans could be left holding the proverbial bag. Houston is currently looking at Tom Savage being a starting quarterback in a year it was hoping to contend for a Super Bowl. If Cleveland, Arizona and Washington all go for a signal-caller before them, the Texans might have to reach for someone like Davis Webb or DeShone Kizer.

Romo leaves the sport behind, but began a massive game of musical chairs.

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