Seven years after the Broncos last had a quarterback worth a crap, one year after Russell Wilson passive-aggressively signaled his willingness to leave Seattle for a real offensive line, and six days after Pete Carroll claimed the Seahawks weren’t shopping Wilson—we have ourselves a trade! Fantastic news, and not just because it means we don’t have to spend any more time talking about Aaron Rodgers finally getting off the pot and re-signing with Green Bay. (God, shut UP, man. No one cares.)
Wilson is 33 years old and fresh off a down season in which he missed the first games to injury of his career, but he’s still light years better than Brock Osweiler or Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch or Case Keenum or Joe Flacco or Drew Lock or Brandon Allen or Brett Rypien or Jeff Driskel or Kendall Hinton or Teddy Bridgewater. This is the quarterback the defensively sound, offensively barely ept Broncos have desired since Peyton Manning retired (really, since slightly before that), and it only took GM George Paton one year on the job to make it happen. He paid a high price tag, but that’s the going rate for a franchise QB.
The Seahawks are in kind of a weird place. They weren’t awful last year—they still won seven games despite having Wilson miss three and be ineffective once he came back—but they felt irrelevant for the first time in a while, missing the playoffs after making it nine of out of 10 years. That’ll happen in a stacked division shared with the Rams, Cardinals, and 49ers. They were not trending in the right direction, and weren’t going to be even with Wilson, who is likely toward the end of his prime. But is Pete Carroll, who’ll turn 71 a week after opening day really going to enact and stick around for a full rebuild? Not necessarily.
Seattle still has talented players at a number of positions, especially on offense, and TE Noah Fant and DE Shelby Harris are both useful guys. Their inclusion in this trade could be taken as a sign the Seahawks aren’t quite ready to tank just yet—or perhaps just a sign that Denver held firm on not including a third first-rounder. A lot will depend on who ends up starting at quarterback for them. If they sit tight and go with Geno Smith or Drew Lock, they’re mailing it in. If they go out and get a veteran on the market—Wentz? Cousins?—maybe they’ll see if they can’t still make some noise.
The Broncos, however, are going for it. It’s not risk-free. Wilson has two years left on his deal, and quarterbacks not named Brady or Rodgers don’t tend to age so well. This chart is probably unfair given Wilson’s injury-marred 2021, but it’s also not definitely a fluke. We’ll have to see how nanobubbles behave at altitude. But Denver needs a good-to-great arm to have any hopes of keeping pace with the Chiefs, Chargers, and Raiders, and given what was available this winter, betting on Wilson regaining his form was their best option.
Anyway, here’s a bad photoshop of what Wilson might look like in a Broncos uniform and also chubby: