It's been five months since Brock Osweiler spurned the Broncos and signed a four-year, $72 million deal with the Texans. Until he put pen to paper, the expectation was that Osweiler would re-up with Denver and become the starting quarterback in a post-Peyton Manning world.
But Osweiler, who started seven games last season while Manning recovered from a foot injury, apparently took exception to being benched in the second half of the regular-season finale against the Chargers. Manning returned to the lineup, and went on to lead the Broncos to the Super Bowl. A month later, Osweiler inked a long-term contract with the Texans.
Talking to the Denver Post about the expectations for the defending Super Bowl champions, Broncos general manager John Elway admitted that he was taken aback with how Osweiler handled the demotion.
"I can understand that he didn't want to sit down and have Peyton come back in that San Diego game, but it wasn't the fact that Brock was playing bad," Elway said. "We needed a change of something. So I was a little surprised just how he seemed to be a little bent out of shape about that. But he had an opportunity to make a tremendous amount of money in Houston, and for us, it just didn't fit."
A report emerged shortly after Osweiler bolted for Houston that he wasn't interested in playing in Manning's shadow and wanted a fresh start elsewhere. Fair enough; that succession plan didn't exactly work out well for Brian Griese when he replaced Elway after the 1998 season. Additionally, Osweiler reportedly took issue with the Broncos putting his contract on the back burner while Manning contemplated retirement.
The culmination of events left the Broncos without a starting quarterback. There was 2015 seventh-rounder Trevor Siemian, which prompted the team to trade for journeyman Mark Sanchez, and move up in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft to select Paxton Lynch out of Memphis.
"That's why you can never lock into one solution," Elway told the Post. "You always have to have several options and go with what's best. I haven't talked to Brock about it. I've only kind of heard about it, of why he may have been a little bit upset about the way things went. ...
"To be able to get Mark and then have Trevor that we drafted last year who's having a good camp and a guy that we believe can be the future in Paxton -- it's just a matter of him coming along and continuing to improve," Elway continued. "It may not look as good from the outside as people want it to look. But we feel pretty good about how it looks from the inside. We feel good about that spot in the years to come and of what Mark can do. We think he's got the ability, if we get him in the right situation, to be a very sufficient and adequate quarterback."
Whoever ends up under the center, they'll at least have the benefit of playing with one of the NFL's best defenses.