Peyton Manning’s decision to retire likely came as good news to his 25-year-old backup, Brock Osweiler.
Osweiler started seven games while Manning was injured this season, during which the Broncos went 5-2 and Osweiler threw nine touchdowns to five interceptions.
Osweiler, however, was benched in Week 17 as Manning returned from injury and helped lead the Broncos to a division-sealing win. Osweiler then sat the entire postseason.
Now, with Manning gone, it’s Osweiler’s turn to shine — though it may not be in Denver.
Leading up to Peyton’s retirement, the Broncos had already turned their attention to Osweiler. According NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, the Broncos offered Osweiler a three-year, $45 million contract, which he has not yet accepted.
That would be a significant pay increase for Osweiler, who, according to Spotrac, has earned a total of $3.5 million during his four-year NFL career.
By waiting to accept the offer, the price could be driven even higher. Without Manning, the Broncos are now in a situation where they are in danger of losing both of their quarterbacks as other teams are starting to express interest in Osweiler.
With the NFL’s tampering window now open, it’s been reported that Osweiler is going to visit the Houston Texans, another quarterback-hungry team. The Texans made the playoffs with a turnstile rotation at QB this season, and with a bare quarterback market in free agency this season, they could be willing to offer Osweiler even more money.
In general, the lack of starting quarterbacks available in free agency could drive up Osweiler’s price. With Kirk Cousins and Sam Bradford already locked up, Ryan Fitzpatrick might be the best quarterback available next to Osweiler. Yet, he and the Jets have mutual interest in a reunion, and he’s eight years older than Osweiler. Further down the list, the intrigue of the names dwindles to players like Case Keenum, Brandon Weeden, Matt Cassel, etc.
Osweiler is not only younger than these players, he’s 6-foot-8, has shown promise playing for a good team, and has spent the first four years of his career learning under Manning. Osweiler is in the driver’s seat, and even if a team won’t offer more than Denver’s $45 million, that’s an impressive payday for a 25-year-old with seven career starts. It would also allow Osweiler to hit free agency again at 28, right in his prime, where he could earn another hefty contract.
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