(Brock Osweiler photos courtesy of Eric Bakke/Denver Broncos)
Talk of Fame Network
The game of football begins and ends at the quarterback position – as does last week’s Talk of Fame Network poll.
We asked our listeners and readers to vote on the best free agency signing of this offseason and Houston’s signing of Brock Osweiler away from the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos won by a comfortable margin.
Osweiler received 30 percent of the vote, followed by safety Eric Weddle’s signing with Baltimore at 21 percent. Jacksonville’s signing of defensive end Malik Jackson was next at 17 percent, then Atlanta’s signing of center Alex Mack at 15 percent, followed by Houston’s signing of running back Lamar Miller at 13 percent and the Giants’ signing of end Olivier Vernon at 4.3 percent.
Jackson received the best contract in free agency to leave the Broncos, signing with the Jaguars for $85.5 million over five years, with $42 million of it guaranteed. Vernon received the most guaranteed money at $52.5 million. He was coming off a 7 ½ sack season with the Dolphins, and the pass rush is always at a premium in today’s NFL. Talk of Fame Network co-host Ron Borges cast his vote for Vernon.
“Anyone named after a great Shakespearian actor understands timing and dramatic entrances,” Borges quipped. “Vernon also rushes the quarterback with speed and enthusiasm.”
Osweiler was a second-round draft pick of the Broncos in 2012 who sat and watched Peyton Manning for three seasons before finally getting his chance to take meaningful snaps in 2015. He stepped in for an injured Manning and started seven games, winning five of them, to keep the Broncos in playoff contention. He passed for 10 touchdowns with six interceptions and had his lone 300-yard game against the Oakland Raiders.
The Texans finished 18th in the NFL in passing last season, starting four different quarterbacks on the way to a wild-card playoff berth. Houston gave him a four-year contract worth $72 million, with $37 million of it guaranteed, to provide some stability to the position.
Weddle was among the most proven commodities in free agency. A nine-year veteran, Weddle has been to three Pro Bowls with the San Diego Chargers and led the NFL in interceptions in 2011 with seven. The Ravens gave him a four-year, $26-million contract, with $13 million guaranteed to change coasts. Talk of Fame Network co-hosts Rick Gosselin voted Weddle as the best signing, and co-host Clark Judge voted Mack.
“The guy’s a proven player and he’ll help in Atlanta’s attempt to rebuild the franchise … aka Matt Ryan,” Judge said. “Ryan’s passer rating last season was its lowest in six years, and giving him a Pro Bowl center should make him more confident and, hopefully, more accurate.”