Brock Osweiler is a free agent. Robert Griffin III most likely will be soon. Denver is currently weighing its options at quarterback, with Peyton Manning expected to retire. If Osweiler was still on his original contract, playing for relatively cheap, the decision would be easy. But Denver has to either tag him, or pay him a contract that keeps him from the free agent market.
"Just texted to me: #Broncos discussing possibility of RG3 if money gets prohibitive to keep Osweiler."- — Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) Feb
Is he worth it? Winning on the team level masks a lot of things when it comes to individual performance. Here’s a side-by-side of Robert Griffin and Brock Osweiler, using Griffin’s stats from the 2013 and 2014 seasons (when he was coming back from injury, struggled and was benched) to Osweiler’s this year. (data via pro-football-reference.com)
Very similar across the board, including in team points scored per game. I used Osweiler’s numbers in the first 6 starts of this year, plus the 7 points in one half of the season finale before being benched. I excluded the one Griffin start where he had 3 attempts before leaving with injury from his team points/game.
Of course, while the teams scored a similar number of points, the records were vastly different. Denver went 4-2 in those games started and completed by Osweiler. Washington went 4-15 in those games by Griffin.
I’m not going to sugar coat it, Griffin wasn’t very good in the previous two seasons, and didn’t play at all this year. But Osweiler’s output wasn’t any better, but I think there is a vast difference in perception. I also would have taken what Osweiler had to work with on offense, compared to Griffin when had the majority of his starts in 2013.
And we saw one season where Griffin put up huge numbers before a knee injury, as a rookie. If Osweiler’s camp wants more money, I think the choice moves to Griffin.
Of course, Osweiler isn’t sending out these messages on Twitter.
I personally think Osweiler is the next Matt Cassel, and somebody will overpay him. Meanwhile, as a Kansas City Chiefs fan, my personal fear is that Griffin gets to Denver as a reclamation project and thrives as a bootleg/play action passer in Denver’s system, similar to how Jake Plummer revitalized his career in a similar offense more than a decade ago.