The fortunes of Brock Osweiler over the last 20 months seem like a Hollywood script rejected for lack of realism. Osweiler was a second round pick by the Denver Broncos in 2012 and sat on the bench waiting his turn until the 2015 season, wherein quarterback Peyton Manning was injured. Osweiler started seven games that season, going 5-2 and keeping the team on a path that ended with them winning the Super Bowl in February of 2016.
Manning announced his retirement and it looked like Osweiler was the quarterback of the future — except his contract had expired. And while general manager John Elway wanted to keep him, he was outbid by the Houston Texans. Osweiler got $72 million to move from the Mile High State to the Lone Star State and started the 2016 season as the starter for the first time in his career. But the season didn't go well. Osweiler's play was far from worth what he was making and even though the team made the playoffs, it was on the back of the defense and in spite of the quarterback play.
In a move that was pretty much a salary dump a-la the NBA, the Texans traded Osweiler to the Cleveland Browns, who had planned to cut him just to eat up cap space they didn't plan to use in exchange for a good draft pick. But the Browns kept Osweiler around through training camp and preseason just to see if there was something there. But it turns out there wasn't, and the Browns decided to cut him — even though they would be paying him $16 million to not play football.
Meanwhile in Denver, after losing out on Osweiler the Broncos drafted Paxton Lynch, who was unable to pass Trevor Siemian last year and wasn't really getting it done in the preseason this year when he got hurt and will miss the first month of the upcoming season. This leaves the Broncos short a back-up quarterback… so they've decided to sign Brock Osweiler.
Osweiler's signing makes sense. They signed him to a league minimum contract of $775,000 and Osweiler was fine taking that, because whatever he makes from another team is subtracted from what the Browns owe him. Osweiler is already familiar with the team, even though there has been a head coach change and Elway liked him enough to try to keep him in 2016. Now the Broncos have an extended look at the guy who they once thought was their future, and Osweiler has a chance to try and rebuild his career in a system that he was successful in.
The NFL can be a funny place sometimes.