Denver Broncos

Broncos better off without Brock Osweiler under center

02 October, 2016: Houston Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler (17) during the NFL game between the Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans at NRG Stadium in Houston, TX. (Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire)
Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire

With the Broncos and Texans game looming, former backup QB – and brief starter – Brock Osweiler gets to return to play against his old team. He’s coming off of a miraculous comeback win where he threw two late TDs, and the Broncos are coming off of two straight losses. Even so, the Texans have been lackluster this season, for the most part, and the Broncos are largely expected to win at home. They’re a touchdown favorite.

Now, there’s been something of a roller-coaster ride for Broncos fans. First, they were all screaming at Osweiler to sign an extension to stay. Then, when he went to Houston, there was initially a lot of anger. Fans felt betrayed, and there were small signs that players did as well. Osweiler himself skipped Super Bowl-related events and looked fairly bitter – or at least nervous to see his old team.

Outside of that comeback win last week, Osweiler has not been the greatest QB in the NFL. He has 1,402 passing yards, ranking 16th in the league. He’s thrown eight touchdowns and eight interceptions. Worst of all, though, he simply looks ineffective on a lot of plays, unable to create offense. It will be 3rd and 10 and he’ll check down for four yards. Or he’ll take a sack. This kind of thing happens a lot.

As a result, a lot of praise has been heaped on Broncos’ exec John Elway and the rest of the front office. Those geniuses! They told Osweiler to take a hike and paid their defense instead! How brilliant, right? Here’s just one example of many:

The Broncos were smart not to match Houston’s offer of $18M per year, for $72M overall and $37 guaranteed in just 2016 and 2017. It was too much, they knew it and they did let him go when that offer was made.

But this week seems like a very good one to remember that the Broncos did actually make a hefty contract offer, which would have kept Osweiler in Denver and perhaps prevented other signings, like the big extensions given to LB Von Miller and WR Emmanuel Sanders. After the Osweiler deal went down, Michael David Smith wrote this:

“According to multiple reports, Osweiler’s contract with the Texans will pay him about $18 million a year. The Broncos were offering about $16 million a year…Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Osweiler’s deal with the Texans is a four-year, $72 million contract, or an average of $18 million a year…Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that the Broncos’ offer was $16 million a year, with more than $30 million guaranteed.”

So, let’s not act like the Broncos cut this guy. They wanted him and they were willing to pay $16 million per year for him. No, it’s not $18 million, but it still seems like far too much for Osweiler.

Of course, there are way too many variables to know for sure. Would Osweiler be better in Denver, where he had experience in the system? Would he be better with an elite defense backing him up, like last year? Did the move and the publicity of the new deal get to him, shaking his confidence?

You can ask these questions forever, but what we’ve seen out of Osweiler so far does not look like it’s worth what Denver offered. The Broncos have received better QB play out of a healthy Trevor Siemian, who costs them just $538,196 this year. Even if they play dead even, Siemian is the better choice because Osweiler costs about 33 and a half times as much.

This isn’t to take away from Elway’s decision. Again, it was the right one. The Broncos are better with the money spent how it’s been spent, rather than throwing $18 million-plus at Osweiler.

But it is interesting to remember that Elway also tried to overpay for Osweiler. He just didn’t overpay by as much.

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