When the Denver Broncos drafted quarterback Brock Osweiler in 2012, the selection raised a lot of eyebrows. The team had just signed Peyton Manning and many believed that a second round pick would better spent on someone who could help the team immediately.
I certainly understand that position but let’s take a quick second, and remember what was going on when the Broncos selected Osweiler. Manning had not thrown a pass for the Broncos, not even in a mini-camp practice. He hadn’t taken a hit on his surgically repaired neck and no one knew for sure if his nerves would re-generate.
The Broncos and their fans were certainly hopeful, but no one knew for sure if this was going to work. Those doubts seems silly now after the two seasons Manning has posted not but at the time of the 2012 draft, the Broncos had to hedge their bets. All of those factors led to the selection of Osweiler. Now we can argue all day if he was the right quarterback to choose when others like Russell Wilson and Nick Foles were available, but that’s a pointless activity now.
The Broncos also had to be thinking that even if Manning did work out, it was probably going to be only for two or three seasons. In that scenario, Osweiler would spend those years learning and be ready to go when Manning hung up the cleats. The NFL is a quarterback driven league and it made complete sense for the Broncos to draft the next guy.
Now Manning is entering his third season with the Broncos and is showing no signs of quitting anytime soon. Some believe that Manning would walk away if the Broncos won a Super Bowl this year or next, but I don’t see it. Assuming he stays healthy, I fully expect Manning to play out his contract which goes for three more years.
As we’ve said in the past, most players retire for two reasons. Most walk away because they just can’t do it physically anymore, and their bodies just won’t cooperate. The second reason is because they get sick of the meetings, the practices and the weight lifting. The still love the games but they hate all the other stuff, and that drives them into retirement.
At this point in his career, Manning is healthy and playing as well as he ever as so why would he walk away? However this is where Manning is different from 98% of players, he loves the preparation. He loves the meetings, watching film and staying after practice with wide receivers. Manning might enjoy the preparation more than the games.
In short, Manning loves playing quarterback and he’s going to continue do it as long as he is physically able.
The ironic part in all of this is that Osweiler is a free agent after the 2015 season and if Manning does play out his contract as many expect, Osweiler will never play a meaningful down for the Broncos.
At that point, Osweiler would have sat behind Manning for four seasons with at least one more to go. There’s no way he is going to sign another contact with the Broncos with the hope of playing in two years. He will walk via free agency and no one could blame him.
I have no idea what the market will be for Osweiler at that point but there will be a team that will at least offer him the chance to compete. Osweiler was drafted as the quarterback of the future and he might be, but it probably won’t be in Denver.
The Broncos quarterback of the future is s sophomore in college somewhere. Had the Broncos known in 2012 what they know now about Manning, I doubt they take Osweiler but it did make sense at the time.
Barring an injury to Manning, Osweiler will leave the Broncos before him and no one could have predicted that.