Anyone see this coming, what has happened to the Denver Broncos?.
Hope they enjoyed holding up the Super Bowl Trophy 4-weeks ago, because the team is being held hostage now.
GM-John Elway, credited for all the right moves the last two years, the free agent spending sprees, finding people in the draft, is having a tough time accepting what has just happened.
In a span of 48-hours, both of his quarterbacks leave, Peyton Manning, with the emotional Monday farewell press conference, and then the defection of their supposed future star quarterback Brock Osweiler.
A couple of phrases to pay attention to in Denver these days. “Huge payday-Hard Feelings”, and “Short Term-Mid Level”. That’s why the Broncos are where they are this morning.
Osweiler bolted for an 18M a year payday with the Houston Texans, a floundering franchise, in need of lots of offensive help. The era of Matt Schaub, Arian Foster and Andre Johnson is gone. Left behind is star pass rusher JJ Watt but not much else. Thus the wild (4Y-72M) deal to Osweiler. He insulted by the Elway comment last week that included the words mid-level and short term contract, in referencing Osweiler. They offered him 13M and that was it.
When last seen, Osweiler had been benched as the Broncos started to falter at the end of the season. Coordinators figured him out, and the Denver offense started to go away. Manning saved them, not by winning games, just not by losing games with turnovers. The 17-picks he threw early in the season before getting hurt, were forgotten, as he engineered game winning drives without turnovers.
Osweiler was offended he had to wait 4-weeks before the Broncos opened contract talks. Denver didn’t talk to him at the end of last season, maybe not sure what kind of talent he really was. Sitting on the sidelines for three season didn’t give you much of a read. Forced on the field, he played well in posting a (5-2) record.
Hard to understand Elway not trying harder at the end of the year to get a deal done, though maybe his agent had all the leverage. Maybe Elway didn’t want to offend Manning and the tough ‘time to leave’ decision he would have to make.
Osweiler chaffed at the controls of Coach Gary Kubiak, the limitations on audible calls, and the insistence, we run the football here first, you throw it second.
The money is absurd, the train of thought of the quarterback is strange too, going from a comfort zone with a coaching staff who helped him develop, to the total rebuild they are facing in Houston.
Elway didn’t get held hostage, but he didn’t help himself with comments “we want people here, who want to be here”, quite a swipe at Osweiler.
But the bad days weren’t just around the quarterback. Malik Jackson jumps ship for an obscene 14M-payday, leaving behind a good defensive front, to cash checks for a woeful Jaguars franchise.
Linebacker Danny Trevathan goes to the Bears-relinked with the Coach who helped groom him John Fox, another loss of a true fiery leader on defense.
And now running back CJ Anderson, lowballed with a 1.7M-tender after 1300-yards rushing in a season and a half, signs an offer sheet in Miami, for nearly 5M per season.
John Elway was always calm-cool in the pocket as a quarterback, and knew what he was doing when he scrambled. Now he has to be seething in anger, his insides churning over all these defections. He no longer has as good a team as he had just a month ago this morning.
In fact, he has lots of holes, still has salary cap problems, and now has no real leader on offense.
How do you fix it?
Overpay for Colin Kaeperneck and hope he can fit his game into all the things Kubiak demands. Gamble on Robert Griffin III, his damaged psyche and knee in question. Deal for a Ryan Fitzpatrick, coming off a great year with the Jets, but hwo is equally likely to throw an interception as a touchdown. 1-solution could have been Chase Daniel, who just left Kansas City to go to Philadelphia. Did Elway even think about making an insurance policy call? Maybe you spend your late first round pick on a QB-like Paxton Lynch-Memphis State.
Some are bridge quarterbacks, some are projects, others are journeymen, one might be a raw rookie. It just does not figure to be the same team next year with whomever is driving the offense.
He likely now needs a running back and more offensive line help too. Not an easy time, in a league where you need quarterbacks to win. That quarterback-GM didn’t plan all this out very well.
Broncos bad days for sure, with few player left out there who can be difference makers immediately.