TRADING SPACES: Brock Osweiler

By Luke Grilli, DFW Senior Writer and Co-Owner, @LGrilli88


Drafted 52nd overall in the 2012 draft by the Denver Broncos after a junior year at Arizona State where Brock Osweiler started the whole season and passed for over 4,000 yards, it seemed as if he was destined to eventually take the reins from Peyton Manning as the starting quarterback in Denver. After seeing limited time over the next four years, even when Peyton Manning was struggling to throw the ball more than 20 yards, Brock had the chance to hit free agency and did so with a bang. Even though the Broncos were coming off a Super Bowl season, had an elite defense and featured receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas, Osweiler was looking to take his talent elsewhere because the Broncos were not willing to budge off their $15 million per year offer. Houston, however, was willing to break the bank for Osweiler’s service and signed him to a 4-year $72 million contract. He will now be playing with All-Pro DeAndre Hopkins, 2nd-year receiver Jaelen Strong, newly-signed running back Lamar Miller and rookie receivers Will Fuller and Braxton Miller, forming what could be an explosive offense. Now that the ink has dried and the dust has settled from this move, I can’t blame Brock for sticking it to the Broncos brass. Too many times he was jerked around, whether it was when he should have received playing time during blow out wins, but Peyton Manning wanted to pad his stats, or when he was benched for a noodle-armed Manning. There was an obvious schism between the two parties and knowing that this could be his only big pay day, Brock went with the highest bidder instead of better team. This move could be leaving a lot of Texans and Broncos fans wondering “what if” either in a good way or a bad way.



2015Denver Broncos761.81,96710686.4611
2014Denver Broncos040.0521090.400
2013Denver Broncos068.8950084.120
2012Denver Broncos050.0120056.2-130


As I mentioned, Brock will be going from a team with a couple great pass catchers to a new team that has one GREAT pass catcher and a few younger/raw players that need to develop. Going to a Bill O’Brien offense should also help Brock’s stats…once he can get the offense down, but that will take time. This offense as a whole will need about 5-6 regular season games to gel and really hit their stride due to all the new faces. With that being said, I don’t like Brock Osweiler as a starting QB for your fantasy squads right away. I currently have him as a meddling QB2, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he creeped up my rankings by the end of the year. One thing he has working to his benefit is DeAndre Hopkins lining up on the outside. Hopkins was one of the best receivers in 2015 and will be a developing quarterback’s best friend. In 2016, Osweiler is the perfect fantasy back-up. Give it a year or two until you draft him as your QB1.


Well, it’s pretty easy to improve your quarterback situation from the previous year when the previous year featured a bunch of steaming piles of crap under center. Actually, I take that back…most of it was a steaming pile of crap. Being a Patriots and closet Browns fan, I have a soft spot for Brian Hoyer. It’s the other guys who started under center in Houston last year (Ryan Mallett, TJ Yates and Brandon Weeden) who were the steaming piles of crap. I’d be lying though if I said I was 100% confident in Brock Osweiler being the real deal. It’s still unclear if he lost his starting job in Denver because of poor play or because Peyton was the clear-cut starter as long as he was healthy. Osweiler didn’t really impress me and the offense was humming better with Peyton’s brain on the field. It will be interesting to see if Osweiler can succeed without having to worry about another quarterback looking over his shoulder. In the end though, stud DeAndre Hopkins isn’t going to lose any value, nor will he probably gain any value now that Osweiler is in town. But, if Brock can prove to be a capable player, rookies Will Fuller and Braxton Miller could flash some potential. From a fantasy standpoint, the Osweiler signing won’t have a major impact, but from a long term NFL perspective, the Texans got much better with Brock.


Let the Denver situation be a lesson to every team with their heir quarterback waiting in the wings. There is no guarantee that a guy is going to be willing to wait around to take over a team, even if they just won the Super Bowl. This situation is probably why the Patriots drafted Jacoby Brissett this April and why they will likely trade Jimmy Garoppolo this off season. Though I don’t expect him to do so, if Tom Brady retires after the 2017 season and Garoppolo is a free agent, Jimmy would probably command a huge price tag on the open market and I’m sure like John Elway and the Broncos in Osweiler’s case, Bill Belichick and the Patriots won’t want to pay that price. But I digress…Denver went from a quarterback depth chart of Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler in 2015 to Mark Sanchez, who was acquired in a trade, and 1st round pick Paxton Lynch in 2016. No, Mark Sanchez isn’t good, but is it crazy to think he can be a serviceable QB2 in fantasy this year? At least for the first 8 games until Paxton Lynch probably replaces him. I’ve seen the value of receivers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders fall at an alarming rate, but let’s pump the brakes. Manning and Osweiler were below average quarterbacks in 2015 and the Broncos receiving duo still had a combined 181 receptions. Sanchez won’t increase this duo’s ceiling, but I don’t think he will bottom out their floor either. If you can get either of these receivers on the cheap, do so, as I think they will be severely undervalued heading into the season.