WI : Zeno accepts the offer of the Roman Senate?

In 476 the Roman Senate sent an envoy to present the Imperial Insignia to Zeno after his restoration as Eastern Roman Emperor. This was to see if Zeno would accept the position of Sole Emperor of the Romans.

What if he had accepted this offer, and placed Odoacer (and later Theodoric) as Exarchs in Italia, whilst taking Dalmatia for himself? Could he had begun the recreation of the Western Empire as a series of Exarchates, tying them to the Roman Empire, and even into the administration proper, by providing an annual tithe, or an army when required?

The end result being that Rome may be in the Exarchate of Italia, ruled by Goths. Perhaps with a title akin to King, or Despotes, or Prince to keep them satisfied. This later being expanded to create a Exarchate of Africa, the result of a reconquest, being Roman, or Berber, so on and so on.

Furthermore, if this can be achieved in the west, could this system of Exarchates be a premise for future expansion? Exarchate of Mesopotamia, or Dacia come to mind. Sure the Empire isn't the same as Augustus, but it could be a way to turn disaster into success for the Roman Empire. Especially if it means that the Gothic Wars can be avoided.
Actually Zeno was already the senior Augustus. Nothing changed, when Zeno accepted the insignia and decided, to not use them for now.

Nepos was the junior Augustus of the western half. Zeno cannot dethrone him without damaging his own position.
On the other side he could easily declare, that Odoaker is now a patricius and governing Italia on behalf of the roman emperor in Constantinople. Unfortunately Odoakers clan did not work that well after his death. So the roman emperor had to send another Goth, his Magister Militum Theoderich to solve this issue. The fact that these Goths called themselves King of the Goths does not matter. They were tolerated by the roman emperor, because they acted on behalf of the roman emperor.

From a roman point of view, Italia was still a roman province. No doubt about that in Constantinople or anywhere else in the world. And this situation did not change from a roman point of view until the Lombards invaded Italy.

Call Odoakers Italia an Exarchate or not. These are all later terms, no roman emperor these days knew about.

In the year 476 there was this one and only roman empire with its capital Constantinople. Same story since Constantine founded the city. The one and only senior Augustus was able to appoint or accept a junior Augustus or a Caesar or multiple Caesars. If he did not accept him, he was an usurpator. Simple like that. And of course Zeno decided that there is no need for a Caesar, and definately not for an Augustus, in order to govern this lousy rest of the west called Italia. Some german Patricius is good enough for just another province.

Always remember, that the division of the roman empire as well as terms like ERE and WRE are modern inventions. This shit did never happen.
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Oh, I understand that the division was purely administrative rather than political, but old habits die hard :(

How does dethroning Nepos weaken the Senior Augustus' position? It happened previously with Constantine.

I guess I'm looking at a more involved connection, because otherwise, why would Justinian think that invading the Goths was "Restoring the Empire", or is the trope misinformed? I may be missing a piece of the puzzle, but having the Roman Emperor provide a grand title, rather than one that could later be supported by the Pope as a power play, helps strengthen the Roman Emperor - he is the authority on titles, no other.
Nepos was (probably) enthroned by Zeno in early 474. So how could Zeno replace him with a german without damaging his own image?

Well, let's assume Zeno is willing to integrate Odoaker more closely. An appropriate position would be Magister Militum Italiae et Illyricum. Therefore he has to get rid of Nepos first. But Nepos did nothing wrong. Nepos and Zeno were even related via their wifes.

Also I expect that the conflict between Odoaker and the roman emperor escalates earlier, if Odoakers position is more official with more interference by the central government. I am sure Zeno knew that. So he was not willing to risk all the trouble with Odoaker, Nepos and the senate of Rome. The status quo was very comfortable.

Justinianus could say that he restored the empire. Theoderich conquered Italia on behalf of the roman emperor as magister militum. But more and more the Goths and the Senate of Rome caused trouble and acted against the emperor. Especially after Theoderichs death. So the emperor sent again his magister militum to restore the emperors power. This time two romans.
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Hrmm, would undermining him be less damaging - i.e. completely disregarding the traditional delimitation of powers, in favor of ruling where Nepos was meant to, and then accepting the western insignia after Nepos death? In this circumstance Nepos is alive, but practically isolated to Dalmatia. Instead he assigns him a position of administrative and military control over Italia (just Italia), as recognised by the ERE. Alternatively, Zeno and Nepos could have a discussion about this system, perhaps getting Nepos to support it with the promised invasion of Africa with Roman and Gothic forces. It would certainly leave Nepos in a stronger position to stabilize the Goths.

Although I suppose this isn't too different, except having Zeno prepared to retake Dalmatia when Nepos died, and requesting the assistance of Odacer and Theodoric in invading Africa. Could this prevent the percieved need to invite the Ostrogoths into Italy? They could be used against the Vandals in a joint force, the risk being that the Romans are providing a fleet to transport the Ostrogoths. Would Theodoric accept Mauretania and Patrician of Mauritania for this service? Nepos (and later Zeno) has Dalmatia and Africa outside of Mauritania, which might help Odacer feel threatened and cow when he is told not to abuse Roman citizens. I dunno, I'm spitballing here.