The Broncos could be in the unusual spot of entering the 2016 season with the top two quarterbacks from the prior season no longer on the roster.
Peyton Manning has retired, and Brock Osweiler could be leaving via free agency. Nearly 24 hours into the legal tampering period, the Broncos have yet to finalize a new contract for Osweiler. After 4:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, perhaps they won’t finalize one ever.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the Broncos and Texans “shape up as the two primary potential landing spots” for Osweiler.
In an interview with NBCSN’s Pro Football Talk at the Scouting Combine, Broncos G.M. John Elway seemed to set the range for a deal at $5 million to $15 million per year. He also suggested that Osweiler would need to sign a short-term second contract before cashing in.
Elway likewise gave a fairly compelling explanation regarding his belief that Osweiler should take less than he could get elsewhere to stay with the Broncos. The question becomes how much more another team would pay — and in turn whether Osweiler believes another offenses better suits his skill set.
The Texans are intriguing for a few reasons. First, they had put out the word that they’d be looking for their next quarterback in the draft (that there’s called a misdirection). Second, Osweiler managed to lead the Broncos to a come-from-behind win against the Patriots and Bill Belichick during the regular season. Texans coach Bill O’Brien, a former Belichick lieutenant, surely has studied that one closely. Third, Texans owner Bob McNair would surely love to help derail the efforts of his former head coach and defensive coordinator to win a second straight title in Denver — in a season that culminates on Houston’s home field.
At this point, the Broncos have no way to keep Osweiler in place, other than to make him an offer he chooses not to refuse. The value of that offer surely has gone up in recent days, given the money paid to Sam Bradford and Kirk Cousins. All quarterbacks have confidence in their abilities that often borders on (or becomes) delusion; for Osweiler, it’s not delusional to believe that his skills compare favorably with guys who are getting $17.5 million per year on a two-year deal and $19.95 million in 2016, respectively.