A good story always becomes better when it has rich, controversial behind-the-scenes details. The story of how Brock Osweiler left the Broncos for the Texans, while intriguing on the surface, doesn’t have much drama behind it.
Yes, the Broncos unnecessarily delayed the process by giving quarterback Peyton Manning time to consider his future before making an offer to Osweiler. When the first offer came from the Broncos (without, per a league source, an opener from Osweiler’s camp), the numbers were much lower than the three-year, $45 million figure that was leaked to the media.
Only the Texans were interested, but like most teams now do the Texans didn’t articulate a position until the legal tampering period opened. (The relationship between the Broncos and Texans G.M. Rick Smith, who previously worked in Denver, made shenanigans less likely.) So the Texans waited until the window opened, and they made a significantly better offer than the Broncos did.
The Broncos then increased their offer to north of $16 million per year, but with guaranteed money well below the $37 million offered by Houston. Still, the Broncos made a compelling argument for taking less, arguing that despite the length of the current contract this was potentially a 10-year decision, if things work out.
Last month at the Scouting Combine, Elway made it clear in an interview with NBCSN’s Pro Football Talk that he envisioned a short-term mid-level deal followed by, if all works out, a big-money contract. “I think we do have a system that fits Brock very well,” Elway said. “So for Brock to have continued success, I don’t think will be, this won’t be his big contract, but this will be a contract where he’ll be able to make very good money and be able to prove himself that could lead to that next big contract.”
Instead, that first big contract will be paid by Houston. But there’s a real risk that comes from changing teams, sight unseen. Osweiler accepted the terms from Houston without meeting the coaching staff, ownership, other players, or anyone else. Maybe it will all work out, maybe it won’t. Regardless, it will play out under the weight of enormous pressure and expectations.
It’s happening that way because the Broncos ultimately reached a number they refused to pass, a trademark of G.M. John Elway’s leadership. And it definitely didn’t help that Osweiler had been yanked late in the regular season, even if it was the result of a middle-finger-fueled power play by Peyton Manning.
For the Texans, it remains a gamble. A $37 million gamble, to be precise. Will Osweiler thrive in Bill O’Brien’s offense? Will Osweiler be able to adjust once defenses have enough film to figure out his tendencies and tells and his likes and dislikes?
The pressure will definitely be on Osweiler in September. For now, the pressure is on Elway for find a quarterback on whom the pressure will be in September, too. Possibly in a Week One showdown with Osweiler.