ENGLEWOOD—There is a good chance Brock will be back.
Two player sources told 9News the Denver Broncos will zero in on making Brock Osweiler their backup quarterback once he officially becomes available.
The Broncos waived preseason darling Kyle Sloter on Saturday as the team was trimming its roster to 53 players by the 2 p.m. deadline.
Osweiler was a Broncos’ second-round draft pick in 2012 and was a rookie in offensive coordinator Mike McCoy’s system. McCoy then left to become head coach of the San Diego Chargers for four years, then returned to take his offensive coordinator’s job back with the Broncos this year.
Osweiler sat three years behind Peyton Manning before finally getting his chance in 2015 when Manning missed six games and half of a seventh with a heel injury.
Osweiler went 5-2 as a starter for the Broncos down the stretch but was benched in favor of Manning in the second half of the regular-season finale against McCoy’s Chargers.
The Broncos rallied behind Manning to beat the Chargers and earn a No. 1 AFC playoff seed. Manning then guided the Broncos through the postseason and to the Super Bowl 50 title.
When that season ended, Osweiler became a free agent and spurned the Broncos’ attempt to re-sign him, opting instead to take a four-year, $72 million contract with the Houston Texans.
After one difficult season, the Texans traded Osweiler and his contract to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for a second-round draft pick. The Browns just released Osweiler even though they had to pay him his $16 million guaranteed salary this year.
Perhaps the Broncos can provide the Browns with a $775,000 minimum salary offset. Osweiler has yet to hit the transaction wire but when he does, the Broncos are expected to pounce.
The Broncos need a veteran backup because second-year quarterback Paxton Lynch, the team’s first-round draft pick last year, suffered an injury to his right throwing shoulder in a preseason game last week against the Green Bay Packers.
Lynch is expected to miss between two to four games – but maybe more should the Broncos reel in Osweiler. Despite Sloter’s impressive preseason as an undrafted rookie from Northern Colorado, the Broncos decided they needed a quarterback with NFL experience to back up Trevor Siemian, who beat out Lynch for the starting job during training camp and the preseason.
The Broncos do hope Sloter clears waivers and returns to their practice squad, where he can continue to develop.
Siemian and Osweiler were in the same quarterback room with Manning in 2015. When Manning went down, Osweiler was backed up by the rookie Siemian.
It now appears the roles will reverse. Give credit to Broncos’ general manager John Elway for upgrading his quarterback position. Osweiler’s familiarity with McCoy’s offense, and with Siemian, is a move that only makes sense.