Broncos Country, welcome back to NFL relevancy.
And the Lombardi Trophy chase.
No, you’re not dreaming.
Russell Wilson is the new quarterback of the Denver Broncos.
It happened in one fell swoop late Tuesday morning just as folks in the Rocky Mountain region were recovering from another Aaron Rodgers rejection and putting their lunch plans in motion.
The franchise fortune-altering tweet read as such:
Blockbuster: After weeks of negotiations, in one of the largest trades in NFL history, the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos have agreed to terms for a deal involving Super-Bowl winning QB Russell Wilson, sources tell ESPN.
Trade is pending a physical and Wilson’s approval. pic.twitter.com/oRFDV8Ehyx
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 8, 2022
The Broncos also acquired a fourth-round draft pick in the deal. In return, Denver is sending the Seahawks quite a haul, according to reports:
- Three veteran players: QB Drew Lock, tight end Noah Fant and defensive lineman Shelby Harris
- Two first-round draft picks
- Two second-round picks
- One fifth-round pick
The mega deal — labeled by some the biggest trade in league history — won’t become official until Wilson passes his physical and the new league year begins at 2 p.m. (MT) March 16.
After six straight seasons without a playoff berth, including the last five with sub-.500 records, Broncos Country should be able to wait.
Denver’s Super Bowl odds rebound rather quickly
The Broncos’ Super Bowl LVII odds at Colorado’s online sportsbooks went on quite the roller-coaster ride Tuesday morning.
At BetMGM Colorado, they opened the day at +1600. That was a partial hedge, of course, with Denver — just 7-10 in 2021 — being one of the two top rumored destinations for Rodgers.
Then the Packers’ veteran QB threw a wet blanket on Broncos Country’s hopes for a second straight offseason by announcing he would remain in Green Bay.
The Broncos’ BetMGM odds plummeted accordingly, falling along with fans’ hopes down to +2500.
Then, just when it seemed the Orange and Blue were destined for another offseason in a QB wasteland, the Wilson trade news dropped.
And Denver’s Super Bowl odds went bouncing back up in the opposite direction to +1200.
That’s where they sat at all five of PlayColorado’s top five-rated online sportsbooks as of Tuesday afternoon.
At No. 1-rated DraftKings Colorado, the Broncos’ +1200 odds to win Super Bowl LVII in Arizona are tied with the San Francisco 49ers for the fifth highest in the league.
Only the Buffalo Bills (+650), Kansas City Chiefs (+700), Packers (+800) and defending-champion Los Angeles Rams (+1000) were higher. The Dallas Cowboys, at +1400, were the only other team with better than 20-1 DK championship odds.
It will no doubt make for a fun offseason of NFL wagering in Colorado.
Paton does what it takes to land his QB
George Paton deserves any — and all — the accolades.
The second-year Broncos general manger just had his inaugural draft class lauded as the league’s best of 2021 last week at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Then on Tuesday, shortly after Rodgers again left Denver at the altar, Paton’s mega deal he had worked out with the Seahawks came to full fruition.
And the 33-year-old Wilson, a nine-time Pro Bowler and a 2013 season Super Bowl champ (it’s all forgiven, right Broncos Country?) suddenly became Denver’s new face of the franchise.
Praise Paton for one helluva Plan B.
As aforementioned, the Broncos surrendered quite a bit to land Wilson.
But having a top-shelf QB is an absolute necessity to compete in the 2020s NFL.
Just look at the collection of QBs currently piloting AFC contenders.
They range from the AFC West’s Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert and Derek Carr to Joe Burrow of the defending conference champion Bengals to the Bills’ Josh Allen and the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson.
All except Carr are age 26 or younger.
That’s why the price to acquire an elite QB is always a secondary consideration.
Broncos Country should be feeling fabulously fortunate
Assuming Wilson takes the first snap for the Broncos in Week 1 — perhaps in Seattle against his team of the last decade? — that will mean that a Hall of Fame quarterback has been at the Broncos’ helm for 21 of the last 40 seasons.
That, of course, encompasses Peyton Manning’s stellar four-year run with the Orange and Blue from 2012-15. And through John Elway’s legendary 16-year career in the Mile High City, beginning in 1983.
Now, most definitely, there have been some lean and forgettable quarterback years in between.
The most recent six-year span that featured a league most-tying 11 starting QBs will certainly go down in franchise infamy.
But while other franchise quarterback droughts and rough patches seemingly drone on for decades, the Broncos repeatedly have not only found QB answers, but elite QB answers.
That goes from fleecing Elway from the then-Baltimore Colts in ’83 out outmaneuvering the league to land the free agent Manning a decade ago in March of 2012.
A little more than a month later, the Broncos — in Elway’s second draft — bypassed a certain University of Wisconsin quarterback in the second round to select Arizona State QB Brock Osweiler.
Just 18 picks later, the Seahawks snared Wilson in Round 3.
Fast forward to the end of the following season and Wilson, Seattle and, most notably, the Legion of Boom defense crushed Manning’s Broncos 43-8 in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Wilson guided Seattle to the postseason in eight of his 10 seasons in the Pacific Northwest. En route, he eclipsed Manning’s league record (112) for most wins (113) in a QB’s first 10 seasons.
But Wilson and the Seahawks have grown apart in recent seasons. And on Tuesday, the QB wheel of fortune once again turned in Denver’s direction.
Wilson will be donning orange and blue for his next NFL start.
Tuesday was a good day. A very good day.
And Broncos Country should be feeling fabulously fortunate.