Despite a victory in Super Bowl 50, the Denver Broncos are entering an offseason full of unknowns at quarterback, and running back Ronnie Hillman has cautioned the team to re-sign Brock Osweiler.
While appearing on SiriusXM NFL Radio (h/t Around the NFL), Hillman said the franchise shouldn’t run the risk of replacing both Peyton Manning and Osweiler for 2016.
Should Brock Osweiler be the Broncos' QB next year? @MrHillman2U "It's not my decision, but letting him go would not be too smart!"
— SiriusXM NFL Radio (@SiriusXMNFL) February 14, 2016
Manning, a 39-year-old who is Hall of Fame-bound, will probably retire from the NFL sometime during the coming weeks.
Osweiler is the obvious candidate to take over, considering he started seven games in 2015 and posted a 5-2 record. However, the Arizona State product is an unrestricted free agent.
Unless Denver uses the franchise tag on Osweiler — which at a near-$20 million projection for 2016, per CBS Sports, would be a foolish move — he’ll test the market. Osweiler will have a handful of potential suitors, most notably the Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Rams and Houston Texans.
Allowing Osweiler to reach free agency runs the risk of being outbid, yes. If Denver believes Osweiler is the best option available and doesn’t have to use the franchise tag to keep Von Miller, then the move at least makes sense.
Since the free-agent market is depleted at quarterback, Osweiler will receive a hefty payday. Still, would the Broncos seriously commit $20 million to him when they could re-sign him for less money and a longer term?
Osweiler might not be the future of the team, but watching him walk means Denver will rely on Trevor Siemian, chase a free agent like Robert Griffin III or draft a rookie who might not be ready to start immediately. Like Hillman said, letting Osweiler go wouldn’t be too smart.