"What is the one unequivocable fact that you can count on relative to the preparation of this draft and on draft day is that I'm planning on Romo being the quarterback for the next four or five years," Jones said via ESPN's Todd Archer, one of the reporters on the bus. "That's a fact. You won't see a decision on draft day that will fly in the face of not believing, from our standpoint, that he'll be our quarterback for four or five years."
If we are to take Jones at his word (a tough thing to do in draft season), then spending a pick at No. 4, where the Cowboys draft in the first round, would make little sense. As tempting as it might be, taking a player like Carson Wentz, thinking he'll potentially sit for four to five years behind Romo, would be wasteful.
And it's not like the Cowboys are rebuilding. This is a team that suffered through injuries last season, namely to Romo, that resulted in a down year. Getting Romo back, and adding a few pieces in free agency and a couple more in the draft, especially at No. 4, might be enough to win the NFC East and perhaps make a deep run in the playoffs.
Jones seemed to hint that might be the plan.
"When you've got this high of a pick and you have the circumstances we're in right now with where we are as a team and with the quarterback, you've got to look at what's available to us for sure and knowing that with these qualities of picks you can get some contributions, immediate contributions," Jones said. "I couldn't tell you today at all how we might make the decision. This is one of those that might not be made until we're down to the last 10 seconds on the clock."
"I'd love to see him sit for a year," Mayock said. "If I'm Dallas at No. 4, I'm sitting there licking my lips because I have a 36-year-old quarterback that hasn't finished a season in three years, and you're probably not going to be at four again very soon."
Sooner or later, though, the Cowboys will have to think about life after Romo. It still could be in this draft, in the later rounds. NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt tweeted on Saturday that Dak Prescott of Mississippi State might be the perfect quarterback to groom on a team with an established starter.
Jones, for one, wasn't dropping any clues as to what the Cowboys might do on draft day, whether he knows them at this point or not.
"There's no one breathing that has any idea at this time what we're going to do with that first pick because I don't," Jones said. "And there's nobody you could talk to that thinks they're leaning that way to do that because I'm giving you the lean right now. I think Romo is going to be our quarterback for four or five years and we'll make all decisions accordingly."