It feels like forever ago, but at the beginning of 2016, Brock Osweiler was the player the Denver Broncos pegged to be the future of the franchise at the quarterback position. Now, 18 months later, he’s back on the team on a discount deal, according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer.
Broncos GM John Elway confirmed Osweiler’s signing, pending the results of a physical.
What happened in Osweiler’s last stint with the Broncos? Osweiler, 26, spurned contract offers from the Broncos to be the quarterback to replace Peyton Manning after the team won Super Bowl 50. Manning rode off into the sunset as a champion, but Osweiler started seven games for the Broncos during the regular season.
He threw 10 touchdowns, six interceptions and helped the Broncos — albeit, a team that won with dominant defense — to a 5-2 record during his time under center.
But even though Osweiler was the team’s shoo-in be a starter in 2016, the Broncos weren’t convinced and lowballed the quarterback in the final weeks before he was set to become a free agent. It annoyed Osweiler to the point that he stopped talking to the team altogether.
Broncos figured Brock Osweiler didn't want to come back when he stopped returning phone calls to coaches/some teammates past 2 weeks. #9news— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) March 9, 2016
"When Brock made the decision, he made the decision that he thought was best for him," Elway said. "It's kind of funny how these things worked out, and with our situation, and Brock being available, it's funny how everything aligned."
Osweiler’s post-Broncos career has been a mess: Osweiler threw 15 touchdowns and 16 interceptions in 14 starts in Houston and was benched for Tom Savage. He was later traded to the Cleveland Browns along with a second-round pick for basically nothing in return.
Osweiler couldn’t win the job in Cleveland against second-round rookie DeShone Kizer and the Browns ate $16 million to cut Osweiler. So here he is again, back in Denver.
What’s expected of Osweiler in Denver? In the year and a half since Osweiler left Denver, the team turned starting duties over to Trevor Siemian and took Paxton Lynch in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Both players struggled last season and the Broncos missed the playoffs.
Siemian won the starting job this offseason. Osweiler is likely the third option for the Broncos, as soon as Lynch is healthy again:
#Broncos QB Paxton Lynch is expected to miss roughly 5 weeks with his bruised shoulder, source said. No IR. But an extended stint for Brock.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 2, 2017
So for at least the first quarter of the season, Osweiler will be Siemian’s backup.
"We know that Brock can win football games with us. He's got a lot of experience, so that was one glaring hole we had at that point in time, when Paxton hurt the shoulder," Elway said.
How’s everyone feeling? Broncos fans don’t really want him back.
But Elway insisted there were no hard feelings.
"He is going to need a little football rehab. We know that," Elway said. " We're going to welcome him with open arms and give him some love."
If it’s any consolation for Osweiler, he’s guaranteed to make $16 million this season.
For the coming season, Denver will pay QB Brock Osweiler $775,000 and Cleveland will pay him $15.225 million.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 3, 2017
There are worse positions to be in.