Brock Osweiler was never a particularly great quarterback.
Even in his final season at Arizona State, he finished sixth in the Pac-12 conference in completion percentage, touchdown passes, and passer rating. He was third in interceptions. Stanford’s Andrew Luck and USC’s Matt Barkley got all-conference honors; Arizona’s Nick Foles and Washington’s Keith Price got honorable mentions.
Osweiler was just OK enough to lead ASU to a 6-6 regular season record and an ass-kicking in the Las Vegas Bowl.
In the NFL, it was about the same. He had a 15-15 record as a starter, and he retired with 37 career touchdowns and 31 interceptions. That he turned those numbers into $41.4 million is worth a round of applause.
Osweiler didn’t swindle anyone
The Broncos selected Osweiler in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft — 28 picks ahead of Russell Wilson — because they thought his tall frame and strong arm made him a worthwhile prospect to groom as Peyton Manning’s replacement. He hardly saw the field at all in his first three seasons (which was frustrating for him, at times), and didn’t get significant play time until Manning suffered a foot injury in 2015.
Osweiler started seven games that season, won five of them, and threw 10 touchdowns and six interceptions. That may sound pretty good, but the Broncos offense as a whole struggled. He didn’t throw downfield much, got sacked a lot, and the offense stalled often.
Since Osweiler took over starting job in Week 11, Denver has NFL's most 3-and-outs (18). Broncos have not reached end zone in last 23 drives— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) December 16, 2015
He was benched for the playoffs and Manning was the one who led a run that ended with a win in Super Bowl 50.
So it’s entirely the Texans’ fault that Osweiler’s mediocre starting stint convinced them he was worth a four-year, $72 million deal in free agency with $37 million guaranteed. In 14 starts for the team in 2016, he was — more or less — the same exact quarterback he was in Denver. Osweiler threw 15 touchdowns, 16 interceptions, and won eight games.
The Texans decided that wasn’t good enough and traded a second-round pick to the Browns just to offload the contract. He never played a game with the Browns and was released after training camp.
Houston and Cleveland ended up paying $36.225 million of the $41.397 million Osweiler made in the NFL. He reunited with the Broncos in 2017 and played for the Dolphins in 2018. After not getting a contract for the 2019 season, he called it a career in October.
Osweiler was paid $1.38 million per start, $1.12 million per touchdown, and $35,533.63 per pass attempt.
Kudos to a finesse king
JaMarcus Russell got $39.365 million from the Raiders for just about nothing, but that was the product of an era when top draft picks got cumbersome contracts before ever playing a snap. It’s the same way Sam Bradford kicked off a career that’s (likely) over with $130 million in earnings. He at least had stretches of greatness amidst an injury-filled career.
Osweiler’s story isn’t that one. All along, he was a quarterback who was, at best, somewhere around the 50th best quarterback in the NFL. In the grand scheme, that’s pretty damn impressive. Imagine being the 50th best in the world at anything, let alone something as hard as that job. He then leveraged those skills into a contract reserved for top 20 players at his position.
“Being a kid from Kalispell, Montana, playing for the Denver Broncos, winning a Super Bowl, having the opportunity to sign a second contract – when you look back on it, I couldn’t be more appreciative,” Osweiler told 9News in Denver. “It was great.”
Hell yeah it was, Brock. That’s living life to “it’s” fullest.