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Brock Osweiler is a player who, in small sample sizes, has shown that he has the potential to be a potent NFL quarterback.
He’s got a cannon arm. At 6 feet 7 inches tall and with a bit of mobility, his body exceeds the league prototype. And as evidenced by his one campaign as a starter at Arizona State, which he spun into a second-round draft selection, as well as this past season’s eight-game audition, Osweiler knows how to seize an opportunity when it crosses his path.
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A huge opportunity was in front Osweiler once again over the past week, this time in the form of a reported three-year, $45 million offer from the Denver Broncos to be the franchise’s next starting quarterback, following Peyton Manning’s retirement. But Osweiler chose to pass on the Broncos’ offer, as news broke on Wednesday that the quarterback instead agreed to terms with the Houston Texans for a four-year, $72 million contract.
Good for Osweiler. He got his big deal. He’s now the new face of the Houston Texans. But my, oh my, there are too many reasons—on both sides—why he should have stayed in Denver.
The deal the Broncos offered made sense for both parties involved. Financially, it was more than fair for a quarterback with Osweiler’s experience, but it wasn’t too big of a contract to disable the Broncos from drafting other players who could help the team defend its Super Bowl title.
Denver’s offer also presented an opening for Osweiler to take the reins of a championship contender that, as proven last season, boasts a defense that can win games as the young quarterback continues to adjust to the NFL learning curve. The Texans defense is good too, yes, but they’re not as dominant as Denver’s—not to mention the fact that the Texans team is not as well-rounded.
In the negotiations leading up to Osweiler’s decision, both sides should’ve known they were teetering on the edge of the precipice. Osweiler, who admitted to being a little ego-bruised by his benching in the middle of the Super Bowl run, will be able to afford a few more luxury cars with his Texans deal, sure, but without the help of the Broncos’ stifling D, he’ll be required to step in and do more heavy lifting for a franchise that has yet to prove it has what it takes to belong in the league’s top crop of teams.
As for the Broncos, they now find themselves in a situation eerily reminiscent to when John Elway retired, quarterback-less and with few options. Even football novices know that without a solid signal caller in this league you’re handicapping yourself, and Denver surely does not want to go down Brian Griese Road (or the many mediocre variations of it) once again.
So now, over the coming weeks, we can all look forward to indefinite media hot takes on who Denver’s next QB will be. Robert Griffin III is the only other quality free agent quarterback on the market right now, after Washington released him earlier in the week, and he may be considered as Denver scrambles to outline a Plan B. Otherwise, the Broncos may look to trade away for San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick, or (gasp) take a gamble on the project of Johnny Manziel.
May the still-tangible warmth from February’s Super Bowl 50 victory give this city the strength it needs—as well as the patience—to weather such a quarterback hunt.