It's pretty safe to say that as long as Peyton Manning is around, Brock Osweiler's not going to get a chance to see the field.
Yes, Osweiler was a fairly high second-round pick just two short seasons ago, but Manning is a future Hall of Famer with a Super Bowl victory, seven first-team All-Pro selections, 14 Pro Bowls, five league MVP awards, 5,927 career regular season completions, 598 career postseason completions, 568 career touchdowns passes and a whole bevy of other awards and achievements to his name.
In short, while Manning dons a Broncos uniform, Osweiler will hold a clipboard.
What's intriguing though, is that while Manning's status for the looming 2015 campaign remained very much in the air this offseason due to his own aging and increasingly injury-prone body, his status as a member of the Broncos may have been very much up in the air as well, unbeknownst to the fans in Denver and the quarterback himself.
During a recent Move The Sticks podcast with former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah, Matt "Money" Smith passed along that he had been told by someone that would "certainly know," that a discussion may have gone on between the Broncos and the Houston Texans involving Manning possibly ending up in a Texans uniform.
"I heard a little something, about three, four weeks ago, that the Broncos and the Texans were driving down a road and they were in the same car for a minute regarding Peyton Manning," said Smith. "I said, 'For what?,' and they said, 'For $25 million bucks, that's for what.'"
Manning, of course, is set to make $15 million in base salary after taking a paycut to return to the Broncos in 2015. His contract previously had his base salary at $19 million, with incentives added into the deal which could push the value up to almost $25 million.
Of course, no trade was consummated and the Broncos are set to hit the field with Manning again, while the Texans are staring down the barrel of a training camp competition between veteran journeyman Brian Hoyer and oft-injured unknown Ryan Mallett.
From the Broncos perspective, the notion of dealing Manning is especially curious because of what else Denver currently boasts on their roster - the entirely unproven Osweiler.
Per Smith, the Broncos may be higher on the big signal-caller than those outside the organization think.
"What was being insinuated is they're excited about Brock Osweiler - that he is at that point now, that sort of Aaron Rodgers, Brett Favre point where they feel like, 'Ok, he's ready.'"
Osweiler, 24, has thrown all of 30 passes and completed all of 17 balls for 159 yards and one touchdown in three NFL seasons. Still, he's been the main backup to Manning since the team drafted him in 2012. He's had the opportunity to learn at the feet of two Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks in that time - Elway and Manning - and, per Troy E. Renck of The Denver Post, he's excited about his fit in new head coach Gary Kubiak's offense - a scheme which employs deeper drops and asks more, physically, from the quarterback.
Osweiler told Renck in late April that it was difficult to hear the news of Manning's return, as he feels he's fully prepared to become the starter in Denver.
"It's nothing easy, and nothing directly prepares you for it. My coordinator in college once told me, 'Only worry about the things you can control.' I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to be the starter for this team, but at the same time it wasn't up to me. Right now Peyton is our starter. That is great," Osweiler said. "I can only control how much I know the playbook, how I practice. I want to try to give Coach (Gary) Kubiak and (general manager) John Elway the best product that they've seen from me in four years. I am very confident that this August, they will see the product that John drafted, they will see what he was hoping I would turn into. I want to walk away from the preseason with no regrets."
While Osweiler will be forced to ride the pine for one more season as Manning courts one final NFL championship, it looks increasingly likely based on Smith's report that Manning is entering his last year in Denver, whether of his own volition or not, and that Osweiler is indeed the long-term future at quarterback for the Broncos.