Brock Osweiler and the New QB Landscape

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By: Jim Bearor

I can’t get over Brock Osweiler’s deal with the Texans.  The numbers jumped off the screen when I first saw them, and a deeper look at the specifics only confirmed what I initially struggled to believe: Houston is paying a hell of a lot of money to have him as their franchise quarterback, and a lot of it is guaranteed.  I don’t have anything against Osweiler. I think he’s fun to watch because he’s massive and can throw things really far and hard, but I’m not at all convinced that he’s the guy to build a franchise around.  He’s a fifth year player who has started 7 games in his career, and now he’s making 18 million dollars a year.

A lot of football fans reacted to this signing like Dr. Evil when he found out that his demand for one million dollars wasn’t as wild as it seemed,  because, as Number Two pointed out: “a million dollars isn’t exactly a lot of money these days”.  I did it too, don’t feel bad.  $72 million over 4 years is still the kind of money that makes you mutter “holy shit” to yourself, but what’s crazier about it is that this will probably be the new “floor” for franchise quarterbacks. Remember the big deal Jay Cutler got a couple years ago, and everyone was debating whether or not it was worth it? Well, now Osweiler is making the same salary as him, with a higher percentage of it guaranteed.  He has the same salary as Tony Romo and he’s making more than Sam Bradford.

All of this being said, his yearly pay ranks fifteenth among quarterbacks, and that doesn’t sound too crazy to me.  He’s not better than Alex Smith, Sam Bradford, Carson Palmer, or Andy Dalton, but with the quarterback landscape looking the way it is, it’s hard to blame a team for taking a chance to lock down someone they think could be a passable quarterback in this league.  Peyton retired. Brees, Brady, and Palmer are getting older. Eli, Rivers, and Roethlisberger are all in their mid-thirties. There are still some great quarterbacks in this league — and I’m not going to sit here and rattle off their names — but it seems that guys like Flacco, Ryan, Cutler, and Dalton are all floating near the top by default.  There are so many quarterbacks in the NFL that the jury is still out on, and for that reason, whenever somebody that looks the part of a franchise quarterback hits the market, they get snatched up for what seems like ludicrous amounts of money.

It makes sense, I guess. Who am I to say you shouldn’t overpay for the most important position in the game? Brock Osweiler is 25 years old, 6’8″ and has a rocket launcher for an arm.  Sure, that sounds like a pretty safe bet as far as durability goes, but I still have a ton of questions, like:

    • Does Osweiler have the right temperament to be a team leader? Were his behavioral issues in Denver just a result of hurt pride, having to take a back seat to an old fart like Peyton, or does it go deeper than that?
    • What reasoning do we have to believe that he’ll be any better than backups-turned-starters like Matt Flynn or Matt Schaub?
    • I think Trey Wingo says it best here:

I’m not sold on Brock whatsoever.  I have difficulty calling him a good quarterback, much less a franchise guy.  However, the more I look around at what’s left in terms of arm talent and young quarterbacks with a high ceiling, the more rational this move  seems.  We’re probably due for another handful of good young QBs at some point soon, but good luck landing one in the crap shoot that is the NFL Draft.  Right now, this feels like a game of musical quarterbacks, and if you’re not lucky enough to have one, you better be stacked at every other position like the Broncos were last year.

JimBearor– Jim Bearor (@JimBearor)

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