In a recent Morning Huddle post attention was called to an article by Pro Football Focus regarding the worst moves of the offseason. It rated the Texans’ acquisition of Brock Osweiler as the worst move of the 2016 offseason.
Their conclusion is primarily supported by three statements – 1) $72 mil is too much to pay for a quarterback having only 7 NFL starts, 2) those 7 starts produced mediocre statistics and 3) Osweiler was benched for a well over-the-hill Peyton Manning who, despite his diminished skills, led the Broncos to a Super Bowl victory.
On the surface all that is true. In a vacuum $72 mil over 4 years is a lot to pay for an inexperienced quarterback. However, it is not a lot to pay for a franchise quarterback, and that is the only way Osweiler will see 4 years and $72 mil–to perform like a franchise quarterback. The real money, the guaranteed money, is $32 mil over 2 years.
That is still a lot of money, but it fits the Texans’ cap space and gives them an early out if Osweiler bombs. Not to be overlooked is that the Broncos, who groomed Osweiler for 4 years and know his skills best, offered $30 mil guaranteed over 2 years. The Broncos may have upped the ante had they been given the opportunity to respond to the Texans’ offer.
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Unfortunately the Texans do not have the luxury of operating in a vacuum–they operate in the real world where market forces set quarterback prices. The Eagles set the market by paying Sam Bradford $22 mil guaranteed on what is essentially a one year contract. They then signed quarterback Chase Daniel to a 3 year $21 mil contract with $12 mil guaranteed (PPF #9 worst offseason move).
Finally, the Eagles displayed their “confidence” in Bradford and Daniel that they traded most of their 2016 and 2017 draft choices for the right to choose second overall in the 2016 draft, taking Carson Wentz out of North Dakota State. Wentz will receive $26.67 mil over 4 years including a $17.6 mil signing bonus. Bradford has been often injured and never had a winning season while Daniel is a career back-up. Wentz is a 2-year small college starter who missed much of his last year with an injury. In that environment it is difficult to make the case that the Texans overpaid.
Philadelphia’s approach differs from that of Houston. All the Eagle quarterbacks have the potential to be “the guy”, which enhances the chance that the Eagles now have a franchise quarterback on their roster. They may win if their roster is good enough and if they have enough cap room to sign free agents to offset all their traded draft choices. The real question under the Eagles’ approach is whether a sufficiently talented 53 man roster can be assembled with few draft choices and so much cap money devoted to the quarterback position.