Here's how the Texans stole Brock Osweiler from the Broncos
The Broncos looked like the easy favorite to land Brock Osweiler until the Houston Texans swooped in.
The biggest surprise of free agency -- by far -- was the singing of Brock Osweiler by the Texans. Houston swooped in to steal Osweiler from the Broncos on a four-year, $72 million deal, pinning their hopes of taking a big step next year on a quarterback with seven career starts.
The interest was reciprocal. On Sunday John McClain of the Houston Chronicle penned a fantastic look at the behind-the-scenes moves needed to bring Osweiler to Houston, and it largely revolves around the Texans' brass loving the lanky quarterback.
Immediately after the season, according to McClain, Bill O'Brien immersed himself in film of Texans players and potential free agents. He came away believing Osweiler was "the right guy."
"We study all these guys," O'Brien said. "We watch their [regular-season] tape [and] their preseason tape. When you threw the tape on from [last season]. it was impressive. He played in some very tough games, some very meaningful games.
"It's not easy to be a starting quarterback in this league. It's one of the most difficult things in sports to do. I think we got the right guy."
No one with the Texans actually believed he would hit the market, however. John Elway drafted Osweiler and he was going to sign him -- Osweiler staying in Denver was a fait accompli. The tape GM Rick Smith watched before free agency only reinforced O'Brien's beliefs about Osweiler.
The Broncos decided to play chicken with Osweiler's agent Jimmy Sexton, who started talking with Smith and the Texans.
After hearing about the Texans' interest, McClain reports Sexton went back to Denver for more money (they initially offered three years, $45 million):
On Wednesday morning, Sexton spoke with the Broncos for the first time since they made their $39 million offer. They increased their offer to an average of $16.5 million a year, including $30 million guaranteed.
The biggest key to this all? Sexton having Osweiler "go dark" during negotiations.
Sexton had told Osweiler to go dark and not return calls, texts or e-mails from the Broncos, including his teammates, until the agent had reached an agreement with one of the teams. Sexton didn't want sentiment to play a role if he could avoid it.
There were reports after the initial signing about Osweiler not returning phone calls. Tough move for him to stiff-arm his friends, but it makes sense not allowing other people to influence his decision.
When it came down to money, the Texans simply offered more. Which is how owner Bob McNair understood things would operate if he wanted to steal someone else's quarterback.
"We had a fair idea as to what the cost would be," McNair said. "But, as with anything, if there's more than one person that wants it, it's probably going to cost you more."
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