- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Tony Romo has seen his last days as a Cowboy.

According to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Cowboys have informed Romo that he will be released on Thursday. Romo will become a free agent, and is expected to take his time and make several visits to teams before accepting an offer.

The Denver Broncos and Houston Texans seem to be the most likely landing spots for Romo and, though the rumor mill swirled with reports of Washington as a potential new home for the 36-year-old quarterback, that’s pretty much out of the question.

Never say never is a good adage to live by in the NFL, but the sense within the Redskins organization before Romo was set to be released was always that the idea of trading for him was laughable.

Ditto the Cowboys. Jerry Jones said from Indianapolis that there was no truth to the Romo-to-D.C. rumors.

“Nothing factual in any way.” Jones told reporters during a huddle-up press conference on-board the Cowboys bus, parked outside the JW Marriott in Indianapolis, on Saturday.

“Haven’t had that discussion with anyone, most of all Romo.”

At the time, Jones said he still wasn’t sure what kind of agreement the Cowboys and Romo would come to. He was adamant, however, that there was no way Romo would end up playing for a division rival in 2017. Jones said that he and Romo have an understanding that Romo wouldn’t sign with an NFC East team as a free agent if he were released.

“When you’ve got a situation like we got, we’ll do the do-right rule. That’s it. That is it. Very important. We do the do-right rule. We have that kind of relationship,” Jones said.

Romo and the Cowboys have been able to negotiate peacefully because their interests are somewhat aligned: Romo wants to finish his career as a starter, while Dallas doesn’t want to be tethered to paying a $14 million base salary to Dak Prescott’s backup.

Seeing Romo dressed in anything other than Dallas’ white and blue will be one of the more stunning results of this offseason, considering that it was unthinkable just a year ago. Other deals began to shake out Wednesday, though, that will have a more direct impact on what the Redskins do over the course of the next few weeks.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday that former Bears quarterback Brian Hoyer has agreed in principle to a two-year deal with Kyle Shanahan’s 49ers. Hoyer knows Shanahan from his time with the Browns when Shanahan was offensive coordinator in 2014.

While it’s possible that San Francisco could make a heel-turn and deal Hoyer in a trade, Hoyer reportedly wants to start and was looking for a team that would offer him that opportunity. He chose the 49ers over the Jets, another reported suitor.

With $100 million in cap room, 11 draft picks and new, six-year contracts for both Shanahan and General Manager John Lynch, no one in San Francisco is in a rush. Signing Hoyer, who is competent enough not to harm other players developmentally, makes it less likely that the 49ers will trade for Kirk Cousins this year. They’re not in win-now mode and could go after Cousins in 2018, or draft a quarterback who wouldn’t have to start right away.

That’s not to say Shanahan’s Washington ties haven’t gotten him anywhere this offseason. Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon is expected to sign with San Francisco on Thursday when free agency officially opens, having been offered $16 million in his first year according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. It’s highly unlikely that figure represents anything close to the average annual contract value Garcon would merit but, with so much cap room, the 49ers would be able to offer him a heap of money up-front.

Should Garcon depart for San Francisco as soon as the signing period opens, all eyes will be on receiver DeSean Jackson, another free agent. Jackson, too, is expected to play somewhere other than Washington next season.

Jackson had a little fun on his Instagram account Wednesday. First, he posted the words “heading to…” on a black background. His next post was a picture that had his feet, propped leisurely up on a table, in the foreground and an open window, framed by palm fronds, looking out over a town of red-roofed houses, in the background.

It looked like it could have been Tampa, where the Buccaneers have long been a front-runner to sign the speedy receiver. It definitely wasn’t Philadelphia, but it could have been Southern California or Arizona.

It could also have been a prank, and Jackson is just messing with everyone who will fall for it. Swept up in the free agent frenzy, you really never know.

• Nora Princiotti can be reached at nprinciotti@washingtontimes.com.

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