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Jerry Jones gives GMs permission to pursue Tony Romo

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In what appears to be the next step toward Tony Romo moving on from Dallas, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has reached out to all 31 NFL teams letting them know that "they are permitted to contact Tony Romo or his agent to schedule a workout, visit or physical," according to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo.

Garafolo noted Monday that talks are to be "limited to conversations concerning (Romo's) 2017-19 NFL player contract."

This is essentially a preamble to a trade, though it remains unclear if any NFL team will actually offer picks or players in return for a quarterback that Dallas might have to release anyway.

As NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday, the Houston Texans would be the team to watch in this scenario, though they will not make an actual trade. The Denver Broncos, despite repeated insistence from general manager John Elway that he likes quarterbacks Paxton Lynch and Trevor Siemian, would be another team to keep an eye on, but, according to Rapoport, will also not trade for Romo.

So goes the latest salvo in this Romo affair. Initially thought to be a tidy release and signing, the saga has turned into a long and arduous game of poker with Jones holding the strongest hand. This past week at the Annual League Meeting, Jones told reporters that there is no imminent deadline to resolve the Romo issue.

Perhaps this is the best way for Jones to have his cake and eat it too. Amid some in-house turmoil -- NFL Network's Jane Slater noted that Romo has distanced himself from the pro-Dak Prescott teammates and coaches -- this is the owner's way of letting Romo know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel whenever his new bosses step up.

The question now becomes when and how much. The Texans already paid the Browns a second-round pick just to take Brock Osweiler off their hands. On the surface, they seem comfortable moving forward with Tom Savage as their starter, though this team would take on an entirely different life with a four-time Pro Bowler under center. The near futures of dynamic receivers like Will Fuller and DeAndre Hopkins would be in very capable hands, and coach Bill O'Brien could finally rid himself of the replacement-level quarterback carousel that has played out over the last four seasons.

Still, could another unexpected team enter the fray?

Either way, Jones already has lost the benefit of the doubt. He could have simply moved on from Romo and done right by his star quarterback just as promised. Now, he embarks on a game of chicken with no real winner.

UPDATE: Tony Romo is set to retire from football, per Rapoport.

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