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Tony Romo won't be threatened if Cowboys take QB in first round

IRVING, Texas -- Whether Tony Romo wants the Dallas Cowboys to a draft a quarterback with the fourth overall pick is irrelevant.

He doesn't get a vote, nor should he have one.

He's going to get paid $8.5 million, while counting nearly $21 million against the club’s salary cap, to play quarterback and lead the Cowboys to the playoffs for sixth time since he became a starter in 2006.

That said, if the Cowboys draft a quarterback in one of the first two rounds, Romo will be the consummate teammate.

He'll help the new guy on the practice field and in the meeting room. He'll answer questions, and, knowing Romo, he'll give helpful advice whether it's solicited or not.

To do anything else would be fraudulent.

Romo is a top example of Jason Garrett's "right kind of guy." A big part of that is being a good teammate and part of being a good teammate is helping other players improve. Players do it at other positions all of the time.

“If the best player there is a quarterback, then that's what our team needs,” Romo said at the end of the season. “I'm just obviously a player on the football team and I don't have to make those decisions and I'm glad.

“My job is go out and get better and make sure this team wins next year. And I'm going to do everything in my power to ensure that.”

In the 10 seasons Romo has been the Cowboys’ starting quarterback, there hasn't been anything about his personality, attitude or performance to suggest he’s selfish. So don't listen to the narrative about Romo being reluctant to help a first-round QB pick because he doesn't want to train his eventual replacement.

That’s such a shallow way to think. We’ve all had mentors at work. Pro sports is full of players who have helped their backups improve because it makes the team better.

Just because former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre treated Aaron Rodgers poorly doesn't mean Romo would do the same to a quarterback drafted in the first round.

After more than 34,000 yards passing, 247 touchdown passes and four Pro Bowls, Romo feels secure about his ability.

When healthy, he's among the game's elite quarterbacks and no rookie is going to beat him out. No second-year or third-year quarterback will beat out a healthy Romo -- even when he's 39.

At some point, though, age robs every player of the skills that once made him a star. It hasn’t yet happened to Romo, but it will someday just like it happened to Peyton Manning this year.

The Broncos won the Super Bowl but Manning served as a game manager. He finished the season with a league-leading 17 interceptions, despite missing six games. When Romo ceases to be effective, he’ll know. Whether he chooses to ever admit it or not is another question.

Quarterback remains the most difficult position to play in pro sports and if the Cowboys deem Carson Wentz or Jared Goff worthy of the fourth pick in the draft then they must take him.

This is an awful crop of free-agent quarterbacks. Kellen Moore is probably best suited to be a career backup, and the Cowboys can use this pick to solidify their quarterback position with three guys they're comfortable playing.

Romo missed 12 games last year and he'll have a plate placed in his collarbone in hopes of strengthening the bone.

He's started 16 games just twice since 2010, though he had played in 62 of 64 games before last season. Still, older players get hurt and take longer to recover, so the Cowboys must prepare for the possibility of Romo missing some games.

Any other approach would be foolish. If there's a quarterback worthy of the fourth pick or even the 34th pick, the Cowboys must take him.

The alternative is another stretch of empty years with dudes like Anthony Wright, Clint Stoerner, Drew Henson, Chad Hutchinson, Quincy Carter, Ryan Leaf, Vinny Testaverde and Drew Bledsoe throwing passes for the Cowboys until the next star arrives.