It’s time to stop the Russell Wilson fear mongering in Broncos Country

Aug 2, 2022, 6:37 AM
Russell Wilson...
(Photo by Andrew Mason / DenverFan.com)
(Photo by Andrew Mason / DenverFan.com)

Well, I’m getting crushed on Twitter. (Oh no! How will I ever go on?). Why? Because I don’t believe the Broncos need to be in a hurry to sign Russell Wilson to a massive new contract.

Here’s my reasoning. Wilson has two years left on his contract. This gives the Broncos a unique opportunity to wait a year to find out what they truly have in Russ. What kind of player is he? What kind of leader is he? How does he fit among the other elite quarterbacks in the NFL so you have a starting point for contract negotiations.

Let me clear. I’m ecstatic Wilson is here. Trading for him was so much better than over-drafting a quarterback who would likely fail. With Wilson, the Broncos will be a playoff contender for years.

However, my excitement for Wilson doesn’t mean I throw good business sense out the window. Just because the Broncos and Broncos Country became desperate for an elite QB doesn’t mean Wilson deserves a market-setting, blank-check contract.

This summer when various position rankings came out, Wilson consistently slotted among the top 8-10 quarterbacks in the league. By those same rankings, Wilson ranked third or fourth among just AFC West quarterbacks.

What’s wrong with using this season to find out what you have in Wilson? You have two years left on his deal. You’re not facing any imposing deadlines. As much as I love having Wilson and am absolutely committed to paying him a large contract at some point, I want to make sure the Broncos are paying what he should be paid compared to the other elite quarterbacks in the league.

Not every QB contract needs to reset the market. If Wilson goes out and plays like the eighth-best QB in the league, there’s no reason the Broncos should give him a market-setting contract. They don’t owe him that. They’re not obligated to do that just because they gave up a lot to trade for him. They aren’t required to immediately give him a record-setting contract just because the last six years have made some fans desperate and fearful that if they don’t do this now then Russ will be mad at us. Boo hoo!

For the record, I don’t believe Wilson would act all put out if the Broncos waited a year. If we’ve learned anything about Russ in the months he’s been here, it’s that he’s a savvy businessman who understands optics. For a Broncos franchise where everything is new from the owners to the coaches to an unproven roster, I imagine Wilson can understand why the Broncos would like to use this year before they commit to anything huge.

The argument I’ve heard over and over the last two days is if the Broncos wait, the price tag will only go up. To which I say, so? I would like to use this season to find out if Wilson is indeed the eighth- to 10th-best QB in the league and third or fourth in the AFC West. If he is, then his contract offer should reflect that. If he goes out and plays great and is a top five guy and clearly 1 or 1A in the division, then I’ll gladly pay extra because that extra money I’m paying is for the certainty of what I’m getting from this guy.

Paying Wilson five years / $250 million guaranteed right now for someone who’s good, but not great is bad business. Add this in: Paying quarterbacks a significant percentage of your team’s salary cap historically has not been a recipe for success. In fact, the highest-paid NFL QBs don’t tend to win Super Bowls. If the Broncos are going to commit huge money, they should have a very clear idea of what they have.

Let me repeat. This is not me greasing the skids for Wilson’s ultimate departure. I want this guy here a long, long time. I would absolutely commit to this guy long term. I want to pay him as close as I can to what he’s worth. But I don’t want to be led around by desperation and fear mongering that if the Broncos don’t do something right now then the relationship with Wilson will be irreparably harmed.

The Broncos and Wilson are in a good place. Waiting one more year isn’t going to hurt that.


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It’s time to stop the Russell Wilson fear mongering in Broncos Country