The Broncos have made an offer likely worth upward of $12.27MM per season to pending free agent quarterback Brock Osweiler, reports Troy Renck of The Denver Post. There’s no word on the length of the proposed contract, but the annual value would place Osweiler slightly above Nick Foles‘ $12.25MM per year. Foles, who signed a two-year, $24.5MM extension with the Rams last summer, is just 21st among quarterbacks in average salary.
Denver has until Monday to negotiate exclusively with Osweiler. If no deal is reached by then, the 25-year-old will be able to pursue offers from other teams as part of the NFL’s legal tampering period. Osweiler could then sign a contract with another club when free agency opens Wednesday.
The Broncos understandably have balked at paying a high price for Osweiler, who hasn’t garnered much playing time since they took him in the second round of the 2012 draft. The 6-foot-8, 240-pounder appeared in a career-high eight games and made his first seven starts last season, but he wasn’t particularly impressive. Osweiler’s numbers – 61 percent completion rate, 7.15 yards per attempt, 10 TDs, six picks – were unremarkable, and he didn’t take the field during the playoffs after a knee injury knocked him out of action in Week 17. Peyton Manning, whose foot injury originally opened the door for Osweiler in November, took the reins back and served as a game manager in all three of the Broncos’ postseason wins, including their 24-10 Super Bowl triumph over Carolina.
As for Manning, he remains undecided about his future. The soon-to-be 40-year-old is a lock to end up in another uniform if he elects to keep playing, as the Broncos have moved on from him, per Renck. The Broncos will make that official when they release the future Hall of Famer sometime before Tuesday. When that happens, the club will free up $19MM of spending space. In addition, the Broncos are considering restructuring the expensive deals of linebacker DeMarcus Ware, offensive tackle Ryan Clady and guard Louis Vasquez, Renck writes. As of now, that trio is set to occupy nearly $29MM in cap next season.
If the Broncos cut Manning and adjust the contracts of Ware, Clady and Vasquez, they’ll give themselves a better chance to keep priority free agents like Osweiler and stellar defensive lineman Malik Jackson. Renck reported Monday that Jackson and the Broncos were roughly $3MM per year apart on contract talks.
Guard Evan Mathis, who’s also unsigned, is contemplating retirement, according to Renck. The Broncos signed the two-time Pro Bowler last summer after the Eagles released him, and he ultimately started in 12 of 16 regular-season appearances. Mathis, 34, earned rave reviews for his performance from Pro Football Focus (subscription required), which ranked him third out of 81 qualifying guards.
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