We all agree John Elway is a superb judge of football talent, right?
So, let’s also all remember that a year ago Elway offered Brock Osweiler $30 million to remain the Broncos quarterback.
Yes, Osweiler has fallen on supremely hard times. He was traded Thursday from the Texans to the Browns, the NFL’s version of Siberia. The Texans wanted to dump Osweiler’s gargantuan contract, and the Browns made the trade primarily to obtain a second-round draft selection.
The Browns have little interest in giving Osweiler a chance to start at quarterback. They want to trade him. That’s right; even the Browns don’t want Osweiler.
But it’s not as if Osweiler’s talent and potential suddenly vanished. He remains 6-foot-8. He remains the quarterback who carried the Broncos to dramatic and vital 2015 victories over the Patriots and Bengals with clutch, strong-armed fourth quarter performances. He remains the QB who Elway wanted to carry the Broncos into the future.
He still can – and I realize I’m swimming against the tide here – become one of the NFL’s top 15 quarterbacks. He’s not destined to remind us of Elway or Peyton Manning in their primes.
He has the tools to become a legit NFL starter.
With diligence and proper training, Osweiler can kick his interception habit, or at least greatly reduce his career-threatening tendency to place passes in the hands of enemy defensive backs.
Let’s look at history: In Elway’s third season, 1985, he threw 23 interceptions and 22 touchdowns. He never again threw more than 20 interceptions, and in his final six seasons he averaged only 11.5 interceptions, or half of what he threw in 1985.
In 1999, Jake Plummer threw 24 interceptions, with only nine touchdowns, for the Cardinals. In 2005, the final year he spent a full season as starter, Plummer threw only seven interceptions in 456 attempts while leading the Broncos to the AFC Title Game.
Elway and Plummer matured and outgrew their generosity to the other teams. Osweiler can follow their lead. I believe he will follow their lead.
Listen, I realize Osweiler is hugely unpopular in Colorado. I would say he’s divisive, but almost nobody stands on his side of the divide. On March 9, 2016, Osweiler signed a four-season, $72 million contract with the Texans. Soon, I heard him described as "selfish" "arrogant" "ungrateful" and "stupid," along with several long descriptive nouns that my mother would not want me repeating.
No doubt, Osweiler is stumbling right now. The Texans had to bribe the Browns to take him. A year ago, he was the savior of Houston football.
Today, he resides in the NFL junk heap.
He won’t stay there. Elway offered him $30 million guaranteed a year ago to remain a Bronco.
And Elway is, as we all know, no football dummy.