Perhaps more than any other franchise in the last 30 to 40 years, the Denver Broncos understand the difference between having a franchise quarterback under center versus someone who is just keeping the seat warm. The team has been searching for a competent answer at the position ever since Peyton Manning played his final snaps in a Denver Super Bowl victory in February 2016.
Fans are hopeful that veteran Russell Wilson will be the perfect player to lead the team back to the promised land, and the front office appears to be convinced of that before he has ever played a down in the regular season. Wilson agreed to a five-year, $245 million extension, which will keep him in the Mile High city through his late thirties. It is a significant leap of faith for Denver, who is betting that the nine time Pro Bowler will return to form after a down year with the Seattle Seahawks last year.
A Blockbuster Move
This transaction really does say a lot about new Broncos general manager George Paton and the vision that he has for the next few seasons. Prior executives spent years spinning their wheels trying to find a quarterback who would be a long-term solution in Denver, and that pursuit really hampered the development of the team as a whole. With Wilson’s extension finalized, Paton is ensured stability at the most important position, and can work on filling out the rest of the roster to complement the veteran passer.
Denver had been in the market for a proven leader for a couple of seasons, and acted swiftly this March by landing Wilson in a trade with Seattle. The team sent former 2019 draft picks, quarterback Drew Lock and tight end Noah Fant to the Seahawks in exchange for Wilson. In his three years with the Broncos, Lock went 8-13 as a starter, throwing 25 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. During Fant’s three years in Denver, he caught 170 passes for 1,905 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Russell Wilson Seahawks Career
The Broncos knew they had to make a splash in order to keep up with the high powered Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders offenses in their own division. In the last several seasons, Wilson was the catalyst of potent Seattle offenses through the air.
He struggled through injury in 2021, but Wilson arguably had a career season in 2020, where he threw for a career high 40 touchdowns. Throughout his tenure in Seattle, the public clamored for the franchise to let Wilson throw the ball more, rather than rely on a running game and their defense. It took a few years, but Wilson was finally unleashed, proving that he could be the main driver of success on offense.
A lot of comparisons are being made between Denver’s potentially impressive wide receiver tandem of Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy, and the Seahawks’ demonstrated perennially solid duo of Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf. Wilson’s arrival in Denver gives fans a lot of hope that Sutton and Jeudy will become household names in 2022.