The Denver Broncos can exhale. Russell Wilson is under contract through 2028.
Hot on the heels of the five-year, $245 million extension Wilson received, the Broncos have solved the biggest problem plaguing this team since Super Bowl 50: the lack of a bonafide franchise quarterback.
Those doubting Denver’s commitment to Wilson, or the skeptics saying that he’s ‘washed,’ are suffering from the vagaries of recency bias. While it’s true that he’s coming off the ‘worst’ season of his career, statistically speaking, we’re talking about a QB who, at the lowest moment of his career and amid a tricky finger injury on his throwing hand, still out-produced every signal-caller that has started for the Broncos since Super Bowl 50.
The best Denver gleaned from the quarterback position since hoisting the Lombardi Trophy is 18 touchdowns to 10 interceptions, which came from Trevor Siemian in 2016 — Gary Kubiak’s last as head coach. Contrast that with Wilson’s 2021 production in a ‘down’ year: 25 touchdowns to six interceptions with 3,113 yards passing and a passer rating of 103.1.
After wandering the QB desert for the past six years, most Broncos fans will take that production every day thrice on Sundays.
It’s true that the Broncos just paid a player who’s yet to suit up on gameday. But let’s put it in perspective. What exactly are the Broncos investing in?
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With 113 total victories under his belt, Wilson is the winningest starting quarterback in NFL history through his first 10 seasons. He’s also a nine-time Pro Bowler, a Super Bowl XLVIII Champion, and 2020 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year.
‘But Wilson’s not elite!’ say the cynics and skeptics. How do we measure an ‘elite’ QB?
If it’s based on wins, then no QB is more elite than Wilson, except perhaps Tom Brady. If it’s based on Pro Bowls, how many signal-callers at least a decade into his career can say he’s been elected to the Pro Bowl 90% of the time he’s played in the NFL?
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Rings? Check. Statistical production? Let’s talk about that.
Among active quarterbacks since 2012, when Wilson entered the league as a Seattle third-round draft pick, he ranks in the top-10 in touchdown passes (292—2nd), completions (3,079—4th), passing yards (37,059—4th) , passer rating (101.8—4th), and completion percentage (65.0—9th). He became the only player in NFL history to throw for 35,000 yards and rush for 4,500 yards over his first 10 years in the league.
In seven of his 10 NFL seasons, Wilson has posted a passer rating of at least 100. He’s also one of just four QBs in NFL history to post a career passer rating of greater than 100 (101.8). The only other quarterbacks to do it are Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, and Aaron Rodgers.
How about reliability from a health standpoint? Wilson has started a total of 174-of-177 games. For those, like me, who don’t do math well, he’s only missed three career starts, and they all came last year with that mallet finger.
Maybe it’s postseason cache that measures an ‘elite’ QB. If so, let’s marvel at Wilson’s whopping 16 postseason starts over eight seasons, where he tossed 25 touchdowns with 12 interceptions and posted a passer rating of 95.3 while completing 275-of-451 passes (61.0%) for 3,786 yards.
Yeah, the Broncos knew what they were investing in. Wilson oozes cache, clout, and bonafides.
In fact, Wilson might be the safest investment in the history of pro football.
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