Previously stating they’d wait to negotiate with arguably the top free agent quarterback left on the market, the Broncos’ talks with the 2012 second-round pick have heated up in recent days, with Peyton Manning still undecided on whether or not he wants to continue playing.
However, Osweiler and the Broncos remain far apart on terms, according to the Denver Post’s Troy Renck (via Twitter). Renck adds that the team wants the fifth-year quarterback to return to Denver.
Although terms of Denver’s offer to Osweiler aren’t known, Jason Cole of Bleacher Report hears (video link) the Broncos aren’t willing to hit the $16MM-per-year benchmark that’s become the floor for veteran quarterbacks. Twenty such signal-callers average that per year, with the majority of the starters that don’t being on their rookie contracts.
Per Cole, the Broncos aren’t planning to commit that kind of money annually to Osweiler at this point, even if it’s on a short-term deal like the one the Eagles gave Sam Bradford.
An unrestricted free agent, Osweiler can begin talking to other teams March 7 as part of the legal tampering period. The Broncos don’t believe, according to Cole, that there’s a monster offer awaiting Osweiler on the market and that their sales pitch of quarterbacking a defending Super Bowl champion, with a historically dominant defense as a safety net, will be enough.
Cole also points out the Broncos are high on third-stringer Trevor Siemian and view him as a starter down the road. Of course, the seventh-round pick’s thrown just one NFL pass.
Despite reports of Manning’s retirement announcement being imminent, the soon-to-be-40-year-old passer hasn’t notified the Broncos of his intentions yet. Manning has a $19MM base salary that can be converted into cap space for the Broncos if he retires, or Denver is forced to release him. That $19MM salary becomes guaranteed March 9.
Manning, though, still has a physical looming as part of the five-year contract he signed with the Broncos in 2012. Manning doesn’t have to take it by Friday, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter), only to notify the team he’s available for it on that date.
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