As much confidence as general manager John Elway and new coach Vance Joseph have professed in young quarterbacks Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch, the Broncos would have been interested in a veteran of Romo's stature under the right conditions.
It was no secret that one of the those conditions was that the Cowboys release Romo rather than holding out for a trade.
If Elway was going to graduate from piqued interest to sold on the idea, though, he needed to know that Romo was harboring a single-minded obsession with winning a Super Bowl before retirement.
"One of the conditions was that Romo was all-in on the pursuit of a Super Bowl to kind of cap his career," Mike Klis of KUSA-TV in Denver told NFL Network's Will Selva on Tuesday.
Elway wanted assurances that other considerations such as money, geography, health and television opportunities were secondary to embracing the chance to win in Denver.
Would Romo be comfortable closing out of his career without the Cowboys star on his uniform? Was the brittle quarterback still on the fence about playing football?
When word leaked last month that Romo was seriously weighing television offers, Elway had his answer.
"I think Elway wasn't sure how committed Tony Romo was to that all-consuming quest that he wanted from his quarterback," Klis added. "I think that had a big part of why Elway backed off of Tony Romo a few weeks ago."
Looking back at the past two months in the Romo saga, it's hard to escape the irony. Interested teams such as the Broncos and Texans needed to see commitment from Romo, who would have been tempted to continue his football career had either of those hopeful contenders shown their own commitment by trading for him.