It looks like the Denver Broncos and Brock Osweiler are going to let bygones be bygones.
CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora has reported that Osweiler is set to sign a one-year contract with the Broncos in a deal that will take him back to the city that he once spurned. The news of Osweiler's signing in Denver came just hours after Mike Klis of 9news.com reported that the Broncos were planning to "zero in" on Osweiler once he officially became a free agent.
The beleaguered quarterback Browns on Friday that the team would be releasing him.the
Just 18 months ago, the idea of Osweiler returning to Denver seemed nearly implausible considering the way things ended between the Broncos and their former quarterback.
It all started in March 2016 when Peyton Manning a few weeks after the Broncos' 24-10 win over the Panthers in Super Bowl 50. With Manning out of the picture, the belief in Denver was that Osweiler would take over for the Broncos and become the full-time starting quarterback.
However, Osweiler threw a wrench into those plans during free agency when he decided to spurn the Broncos and Texans. Osweiler's decision to leave Denver led Broncos general manager John Elway to on .with the
Two months after signing the deal with Houston, Osweiler had some choice words of his own for the Broncos. The quarterback said he chose Houston over Denver because he felt.
"I have tremendous respect for both John Elway and Peyton Manning as people and as quarterbacks in the NFL, but I was not concerned one bit with playing in their shadow," Osweiler said in May 2016. "That didn't weigh into my decision whatsoever. Bottom line, I made my decision off where I felt like I could have the most success playing quarterback in the NFL and where I could go and win long-term."
Although Osweiler's decision to sign with the Texans made him rich, it completely backfired on the field after he ended up being one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL in 2016.
After just one season, the Texans were so eager to get rid of him thatthe Browns a 2018 second-round draft pick just to take Osweiler and his giant contract off their hands in March.
The Browns then held on to Osweiler for roughly five months before informing him that he would be released on Friday.
In the year and a half that Osweiler was away from Denver, Elway probably thought he would solve the Broncos' quarterback issues, but that's not what happened. The Broncos gambled on Paxton Lynch with a first-round pick in the 2016 draft, but that gamble didn't pay off. In both 2016 and 2017, Lynch was beaten out for the starting QB job by former seventh-round pick Trevor Siemian.
To Elway, it seems that Siemian is basically a stopgap solution at the quarterback spot in Denver, which is probably why the general manager went after Osweiler as soon as the Browns dumped him. Elway's original plan in 2016 was to make Osweiler the starter, and now, not only does he get to go back to that original plan, but he'll likely be able to do it at his own price.
One thing that's not clear is if Osweiler will have a chance to come in and compete for the starting job as soon as he arrives. The Broncos are actually in need of a backup quarterback right now because Lynch is expected to miss the next 3-4 weeks with a shoulder injury. That means it's possible that Osweiler could serve as the backup behind Siemian as he tries to get reacquainted with the system being run by new Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy (McCoy was the OC in Denver during Osweiler's rookie year in 2012, but left to coach the Chargers for four years after that).
The good news for the Broncos is that if Osweiler is stuck playing behind Siemian, he actually knows a thing or two about serving as a backup quarterback in Denver.
Osweiler spent the first four seasons of his career (2012-15) in Denver as a backup before going 5-2 as a starter in 2015 while Manning sat out with various injuries.
A big reason why Osweiler ended up in Houston is because the Broncos didn't want to match the Texans' offer because they thought Houston was overpaying. Eighteen months later, we now know that Elway was definitely right about that, and Elway is now going to get the quarterback he originally wanted at a bargain.
According to La Canfora, Osweiler's deal with the Broncos is for the veteran minimum of $775,000, which is good news for Denver and bad news for Cleveland.
Osweiler's contract with the Browns included a guaranteed base salary of $16 million, which means he's going to get that in 2017 no matter what. Osweiler's new deal in Denver means that the Broncos will pay him $775,000 of that $16 million and the Browns will pay the rest, which comes out to roughly $15,225,000.
Hey, at least the Browns got a second-round pick out for that money.