Jussel: With Brock back, Broncos now stable
Brock Osweiler is a Denver Bronco, again.
For perspective, I defer to my lovely bride, Julie. When hearing the news of Osweiler being claimed off waivers by the Broncos on Saturday, she said, “Oh, that’s nice. They were so rude to him last time. They should have let him play some in the Super Bowl.”
That’s one take.
My take when hearing the news: Elway, have you lost your ever-loving mind?
Then I started thinking. The more I thought, the more it made sense.
This story isn’t over. This is the National Football League. If you are wondering why something happened, just follow the money.
First, afore-mentioned Denver GM John Elway is bringing in Osweiler for the paltry sum of $775,000 for one season. Cleveland, the team that waived him, will pay the remainder of his $16 million. Good work if you can get it.
Osweiler is being brought in for one reason only: to back up Trevor Siemian, maybe for a couple of weeks until Paxton Lynch comes back from a shoulder injury, maybe until midseason if Lynch is put on the short-term injured reserve list, maybe longer.
I’m here to tell you this: Osweiler, once he learns a few of the plays — and he has played under Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy previously in Denver — is a better QB right now than Lynch. Whether that is the case in a year or two remains to be seen.
The Broncos, however, don’t need Osweiler in another year or two barring a sudden spike in his on-field performance. They just need him now in case Siemian goes down. Which brings us back to the money.
The Broncos, according to Spotrac.com and the NFL Players Association, have roughly $13 million to spend before reaching the cap. They can add players who have been waived, can make trades, or can sign anyone and everyone off the street.
They can spend all or part of that now. The Broncos need more depth on the defensive front. They also could use a pass rusher from the outside to help until Shane Ray comes back. DeMarcus Ware, are you in shape?
Or, they can save most of that cap money for next season.
Denver will lose virtually nothing in free agency next season. Free agents in 2018 include tight end Virgil Green, linebacker Todd Davis and place kicker Brandon McManus. None of those guys will break the bank if the Broncos want them back.
Let’s say the glass is half full.
Siemian and the Broncos put up enough offense to compete for and maybe win a playoff game or two. Everyone is happy and Elway & Co. are good to go for the next season and beyond with Siemian … or Lynch … or Osweiler. They have cap money and simply go about the business of adding talent across the board.
Let’s say the glass is half empty.
Siemian stumbles. Lynch stays hurt. Osweiler continues to be the Osweiler of late. The Broncos invert last season’s 9-7 and the search is on for a new QB.
Think back a few years when a certain free agent was out there and Elway went and got him. Peyton Manning was well worth the effort.
Denver will have cap space.
Drew Brees is a 38-year-old quarterback for the New Orleans Saints. One of the best. A sure-fire Hall of Famer.
He will be a free agent.
There will be teams bidding, maybe Denver among them.
The Broncos in 2018: Brees at QB, Siemian, Lynch or Osweiler in reserve, the rest of the roster intact.
It’s possible. Just follow the money the rest of this season, maybe a bit beyond.