4-Years, $72 million, and a Whole Bunch of Criticism

Brock Osweiler has probably never had any stress in his NFL career before last year. He had been playing behind Peyton Manning for three years prior and pretty much just sat on the bench. He could’ve walked out of the tunnel in sweats and nobody would’ve batted an eye. He wasn’t gonna see the field as long as Peyton was playing like Peyton.

Couldn't wait to get 2016 started! #texans THANK YOU #asu for allowing us to use your great facilities all week.

A photo posted by Brock Osweiler (@bosweiler17) on

This wasn’t the case last year though. After the Bronco’s loss to the Colts in the 2015 NFL Playoffs, it was time for Osweiler to start warming up. Everybody and their mother knew that Peyton was slowing down and that eventually, he would need to be replaced. All eyes turned to Osweiler, who came in midway through the Kansas City game on November 15th. He wasn’t fantastic, throwing for 146 yards with a TD and an INT, but he showed some promise as a future starter. Osweiler would go on to start the next 7 games, going 5-2, and putting up decent statistics before he was replaced by Manning in the playoffs. 

In the offseason, he instantly found a new home. The Texans, in desperate need of a QB, signed him to a 4-year, $72 million deal. Brock has a very short list of accomplishments in the NFL, so why is he now making $18 million a year for the Texans? 
Most fans and analysts are really against this signing, as it is obviously a huge amount of money to pay for a player who just started his first NFL game a few months prior to signing on the dotted line. 

Why is a guy who sat on the bench for three and a half years making $18 million per year? 

Why is he making this money, he wasn’t even that good when he started? 

Those are some of the questioned that were being asked all over social media and in articles. Most people believe that this signing will end up haunting the Texans for years to come. Contrary to popular opinion, I think that it was a fantastic signing on the part of the Texans. 

Believe me, I think it’s a little too much money as well, but what quarterback isn’t making a bunch of money these days? Chase Daniel just signed a deal in which he’s making $7 mil per year. Alex Smith, Sam Bradford, and Matthew Stafford are all making $17 mil per year and putting in lackluster performances. Osweiler getting $18 million per year shouldn’t be crazy, as that puts him as the 15th highest paid quarterback. He’s a middle of the pack quarterback in my mind, so paying him around there shouldn’t be considered a mistake by the Texans.

The biggest reason why I love this signing is that Houston finally gets a starter. The Texans haven’t had a reliable starter since Matt Schaub was half-decent. Since then, they’ve started Ryan Mallett, Brian Hoyer, Case Keenum, T.J. Yates, Brandon Weeden, and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Every year since 2012, the Texans have entered the offseason not knowing who their starting quarterback will be. The quarterback is the most important position on the team and should be one of the leaders, so not having a determined starter changes the whole identity of the team. For all of those offseasons, nobody knew if the Texans would be a contender, because it all depended on the quarterback. 

Joe Buck of FOX Sports shares a similar opinion, saying,

If you’re deciding between two quarterbacks, then you don’t have one, and you need one good quarterback. I work with a guy, in Troy Aikman, who will tell you you cannot win in the NFL without a guy that can drop back, stand in the pocket, find an open receiver, and throw a strike when that quarterback needs to throw a strike
— Joe Buck

Some have questioned as to if Osweiler will even be the starter. I think that he definitely will be because the Texans don’t want another offseason where they have three different quarterbacks trying out for the starting job. Every good team wins with a stable quarterback situation. A team has never won games when they didn’t know who they would be starting week-to-week (The Broncos knew that they wanted Peyton to start every postseason game last year). The Texans showed their commitment to Osweiler by giving him $18 mil per year, and they wouldn’t give that kind of money to a guy that they wanted to compete for the spot. 

Quarterbacks don’t come cheap, and it’s rare that a team lets a potential starting quarterback venture out into the market. The Texans snagging Osweiler allows them to focus on other areas of need in future NFL Drafts and Free Agencies. The Texans have built their foundation on offense with Osweiler, DeAndre Hopkins, and Lamar Miller. Now it’s time for them to execute on the field.

Backing up Peyton Manning for four years in Denver should help Osweiler tremendously, as he learned from arguably the best to ever play the position. Joe Buck shared his opinion with me about what Osweiler gained from the experience, saying, 

Osweiler knows an excellent work ethic now and he knows what to ask of those around him, and he’s seen that through Peyton Manning. To me, the Houston Texans are buying a little piece of Peyton Manning too, and I think there’s no price that you can put on that.
— Joe Buck

Of course, there is always the possibility that Brock ends up becoming a bust, which could happen knowing the Texans history with quarterbacks. This is a point of concern, as Brock only has a small sample size of games that he’s played in. Even with his lack of experience, he still went 5-2 as a starter and put up good stats against good competition. He faced good defenses like the Bengals, Patriots, Chiefs (twice), and Bears, whose secondary actually performed very well last year. Granted, he had the best defense in the league helping him out all game long, but he has a very stout defense in Houston too. Having that defense back him up will help him ease into his role and not have to be the focal point of the team right away.
It truly was a win-win situation when Brock Osweiler and the Texans came to terms on a contract. While many read the price tag and probably had to check two or three times to make sure that they were reading it right, thinking beyond the money will show you that really was a great signing. 

Kip AmbroseComment