The Denver Broncos have been in search of a franchise quarterback since Peyton Manning retired following Super Bowl 50. Having gone through 11 different signal-callers who were all unsuccessful in taking hold of the job permanently, president of football operations John Elway, made a franchise-altering move this offseason.
The Broncos went out and traded for disgruntled but respectful Seattle Seahawks star quarterback Russell Wilson. The move was one of many big offseason transactions that are sure to play a factor in the 2022 NFL season. Wilson was traded exactly one year after trade rumors surfaced for the former N.C. State and Wisconsin signal-caller.
On Thursday the Super Bowl winning QB and the Broncos came to agreement on a five-year, $245 million extension, with $165 million guaranteed. It’s the third-largest contract in guarantees in league history.
Wilson’s extension follows record-breaking, market-shifting deals for Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson and Arizona Cardinals signal-caller Kyler Murray. Lamar Jackson is next in line for an unprecedented deal.
An excited Wilson expressed his gratitude for the massive extension.
“I came here knowing I was going to be ready to play on these two years left on my contract. But I think to be able to get it done before the season, to have it all done, is just a blessing. And it allows us all to be excited,” Wilson told reporters.
“It’s so important to me … to me what’s it about is to be able to win championships and have enough space on the salary cap so George can work his magic and we can get guys like Randy Gregory … and other great players. We want to make this a destination location.”
Sounds like Wilson’s “partnership” with the organization is off to a great start, and, according to Wilson, his robust deal won’t inhibit the Broncos from going after other All-Pro talent. Now Russ is signed through the 2028 season, assuring the Broncos they have a QB for the next seven seasons if they so choose.
Wilson is two months shy of 34 but still has plenty left in the tank. The way he takes care of his body and the subdued family lifestyle he lives suggests that he could play out the entire seven seasons of the deal. Wilson’s average annual salary will still be $35 million per season, which is exactly what it was in Seattle.
Broncos GM Says There Was Pressure To Get Deal Done
With Wilson still being fairly new in orange and blue, there was a bit of skepticism as to whether the two sides could come to an agreement. GM George Paton discussed that at Thursday’s news conference to announce the deal.
“We did feel pressure, it came down to the wire last night. We had a deadline and I felt we would figure it out, but you never know, we had never done a deal together.”
The Broncos new ownership group of Walton-Penner was adamant on getting their franchise quarterback locked up long term. Team CEO Carrie Walton Penner, had this to say about the deal.
“It’s critical to have a great quarterback in this league and coming into this organization with Russell in place is a tremendous benefit for us.”
Wilson’s ability to miss almost all of last season and still capitalize on a record deal was definitely aided by new ownership. They wanted to lock up the quarterback position winner. And Wilson has the wins, battle scars and statistics you want in a franchise leader.
Expectations In Denver Are High
Since 2016, the Broncos are 39-58, and they are 0-8 against the Chiefs since Patrick Mahomes became the starter in 2018 (0-8). The Chiefs have been the standard in the AFC West and AFC the last four seasons. This contract was given in good faith that Wilson will be the guy who changes this disturbing trend of bad offense and good defense.
Denver was third in the NFL in total defense despite a losing (7-10) record. Wilson has plenty of weaponry on offense, and a defense that should be just as formidable as last year’s, if not better. The AFC West got better as a whole as did the entire AFC conference, so it won’t be easy, but that’s why you trade for a guy like Wilson who knows what it takes to win.
— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) August 30, 2022
As for Wilson’s personal life, it’s just a bigger bag that he brings home to his wife Ciara and their three children. Can you say more generational wealth?
More TSL Stories: