The Broncos suffered their biggest blow of the offseason this week. And it wasn’t the retirement of NFL legend Peyton Manning.
ESPN’s NFL Insider Adam Schefter has confirmed that suspected Broncos starting QB Brock Osweiler has signed with the Houston Texans Tuesday.
The now former Broncos quarterback has agreed to a four-year $72 million deal that instantly gives the Texans a serviceable quarterback for the first time since the Matt Schaub era.
Osweiler was expected to be the starting quarterback and face of the future for the recent Super Bowl champion Broncos after Peyton Manning announced his retirement Sunday. But their decision to go with Manning in the postseason, despite Osweiler’s solid play to close out the regular season, seems to have had a bigger impact on the former Arizona State star than many believed.
Osweiler went 4-2 during his time replacing Manning last season, and if not for his stellar play during that stretch the Broncos’ season may not have played out in the manner in which it did.
Brock threw for 1,967 yards, 10 touchdowns, and 6 picks during his stint at quarterback, but played a horrendous last game of the season against the San Diego Chargers that resulted in his benching and eventual playoff run for Peyton Manning.
Brock Osweiler career stats:— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 9, 2016
• 2,126 Pass yds
• 11 TD
• 6 Int
• 5-2 as starter
Now, he'll get $37 million guaranteed. (via @Edwerderespn)
The six games that he did start and finish were enough to prove the young Osweiler as a competent quarterback that could manage a game, something the Houston Texans have desperately been searching for since the downfall of their once beloved signal caller, Matt Schaub.
Last year the Texans finished the regular season 9-7 behind a 4 quarterback carousel that was led by Brian Hoyer and still managed to sneak into the postseason, due in large part to the AFC South’s poor play and the string of injuries to the Indianapolis Colts’ Andrew Luck.
Pairing Osweiler up with big-time wide-out DeAndre Hopkins along with the addition of running back Lamar Miller (who also signed a $26 million contract with the Texans Tuesday) finds the Texans mimicking the same blueprint that recent Super Bowl teams such as the Broncos and Seattle Seahawks have followed: a serviceable quarterback supported by a strong run game and stout defense.
With Tuesday’s additions, the Texans should find themselves duking it out with the Indianapolis Colts — should Andrew Luck return to full form — for the AFC South title this upcoming season.
Denver, however, is now left with a Super Bowl Trophy in one hand and no quarterback for the 2016 season in the other.
“We’ve stayed true to our philosophy of building a team with players who want to be Denver Broncos and want to be here,” Broncos executive vice president and general manager John Elway said Wednesday. “That’s been a successful approach for us.”
“While we did offer a very competitive and fair long-term contract to Brock, we ultimately had to remain disciplined while continuing to assemble a roster that can compete for championships,” Elway said.
The no QB scenario isn’t a new one for Elway and the Broncos. The team faced a similar situation in 2012, the year they signed for Peyton Manning and, ironically, drafted Brock Osweiler.
Trevor Siemian, a seventh-round draft pick in 2015, is now the lone quarterback on the Broncos’ depth chart and can’t be seen as a legitimate option for the team going forward. So the team must once again look outward for an answer under center.
Two options that they could risk taking a shot at in free-agency are Ryan Fitzpatrick and Robert Griffin III.
Fitzpatrick is a proven veteran that can offer the Broncos a short term answer in 2016 that also allows them to be competitive. Fitzpatrick was one game away from leading the Jets to the playoffs last season and putting up career highs in nearly all passing categories.
RG III will be the bigger risk of the two. Just released by the Redskins yesterday, Griffin has not seen action in over a year, and hasn’t found success on the field since his successful 2012 rookie season where he won Offensive Rookie of the Year honors and led the ‘Skins to the playoffs. If Griffin can offer the same kind of production he offered when healthy, the Broncos could not only walk away with a steal in Griffin this offseason, but a better option than Osweiler as well.
[Photo by Julie Jacobson/AP Images]