The Dallas Cowboys appear to be serious about drafting Tony Romo's successor. The team held a private workout for Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg on Wednesday, according to Fox Sports' Mike Garafolo, just days after doing the same for Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch in Orlando.
Dallas holds the fourth and 34th overall picks in the draft. According to Garafolo the team is "looking for a developmental" quarterback, and for good reason. Romo is 35 and coming off a season in which he missed 12 games due to two injuries to his left collarbone. The year before he suffered two fractures to his vertebra. He also underwent back surgery in December 2013.
Romo did go 3-1 in four games as a starter last season and completed 69 percent of his passes. He also had seven passes picked off while throwing just five touchdowns. He has four years and about $96 million left on the mega-extension he signed with the Cowboys in 2013. It's unlikely, however, that Dallas keeps him on the roster at his current cap number following the 2018 season. According to Spotrac, the Cowboys could cut Romo prior to the 2019 and only suffer a $3.2 million cap hit, whereas keeping him on the roster would cost the team $23.7 million in cap room.
Lynch, who emerged last season as one of the best quarterbacks in the country, is expected to go in the middle of the first round. He threw 28 touchdowns last season compared to just four interceptions and completed 67 percent of his passes.
"I definitely enjoy pushing the ball down the field, and that's what they were most impressed about, how strong my arm was," he said of his workout with the Cowboys, via NFL.com. "I like the coaching staff -- that team is the face of the NFL almost -- they're so renowned with the success of that franchise."
Hackenberg had a strong freshman season at Penn State under then-head coach Bill O'Brien. He struggled after O'Brien left for the Houston Texans and was replaced by James Franklin. He finished his college career with 48 touchdowns, 31 interceptions while completing just 56 percent of his passes in three seasons. He's projected to fall out of the first round and has recently received criticism for telling teams that Franklin was to blame for his struggles.
The Cowboys' current backup quarterback is former Boise State signal-caller Kellen Moore. Moore struggled in three games last season for Dallas.