Shortly after solidifying their third Super Bowl title last week, it looks like the Denver Broncos are already looking forward to the next season. The club have reportedly put contract discussions with soon-to-be free agent Brock Osweiler on hold until fellow quarterback Peyton Manning makes a decision about his future. But as early as now, Osweiler has made it clear that he still wants to be with the Broncos.
Although the team is keeping things hanging, the heir apparent to Manning already expressed interest in staying at the Mile High City. "Every single guy on this team embraced me, and that is something I think they all know how thankful I am for that, but this is the best team in the world and we have a very special group in our locker room," Osweiler said in an NFL podcast earlier in the week, per The Denver Post.
Osweiler, 25, was drafted in the second round of the NFL Draft in 2012. In eight games, he delivered almost 62 percent of his passes for nearly 2,000 yards, 10 touchdowns and six picks, finishing with a passer rating of 86.4. After taking over for an injured and benched Manning midway through the past season, he logged a 5-2 record during a stellar performance that helped keep the Broncos afloat in the AFC.
As mentioned, Manning could walk away after 18 pro seasons as a Super Bowl champion, but Denver apparently want to keep their options open prior to committing to Osweiler, for 2016 and beyond. Manning is expected to let the team know his decision by March 9. Although the Broncos won Super Bowl 50 mainly due to a dominating defense, the 39-year-old quarterback missed six games in 2015 with a torn plantar fascia and was evidently far from perfect when he played.
Apart from Osweiler, the Denver Broncos have a number of other talented players who will hit free agency this offseason, including linebackers Von Miller & Danny Trevathan, and defensive tackle Malik Jackson. The latter would be an interesting free agent to keep an eye on come March, and it seems that the Broncos' AFC West division rival Oakland Raiders could be a potential suitor for the defense tackle, Troy E. Renck of The Denver Post reports.
Thanks to Jackson's recent admirable stretch of play, he will command top dollar with plenty of suitors and the Raiders is reportedly one of those who have millions to spend. However, they should move fast if they intend to sign Jackson as the Broncos have already started to "negotiate in earnest" to keep the 26-year-old defensive lineman.
Broncos General Manager John Elway is said to be making it his priority to retain Jackson for the off-season, according to 9NEWS Denver's Mike Klis. "...the Broncos have begun negotiating in earnest with Malik Jackson, although at this point not enough progress has been made to prevent the defensive end from testing the free-agent market that begins with the tampering period March 7 and opens for good on March 9," Klis wrote.