What a day for the 2022 offseason. Before the clock struck noon we had a new highest paid quarterback of all-time, the Broncos trajectory changed completely, and the AFC West became the Wild West in that it is now home to four of the baddest gunslingers in the NFL.
First off, Aaron Rodgers and his brand new behemoth contract. After sharing nothing but uncertainty in regards to his future since the Packers loss in the NFC Divisional round game, the back-to-back, reigning and undisputed (depending on who you ask) MVP resigned with the Pack, closing on a whopping 4-year, $200M deal. It comes with $153M in guarantees and resets the standard entirely of what the cream of the crop at the quarterback position is worth per year. 200 million over four years makes the $500M that Chiefs quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, is due over the next decade look like an absolute steal of a deal. The news brought along with it a sense of heartbreak for the Denver Broncos fanbase, as it had been largely rumored that Rodgers was most likely to either return to Green Bay or take his talents to the Mile High City. Broncos faithful, however, were only made to wallow in their tears for a surprisingly short period.
There is always one or two days in every offseason that make such a splash that the wake pours over news outlets for weeks on end. Today was the first such day in the 2022 go around. Seemingly moments after the Rodgers news broke, a trade between the Broncos and Seahawks was cemented to send Russell Wilson to Denver as their new QB1. The price tag for Wilson was as follows:
2022 First-round pick
2023 First-round pick
2022 Second-round pick
2023 Second-round pick
2022 Fifth-round pick
The Broncos secured their quarterback of the future and gained a fourth-round pick in this years draft. It was a pretty penny, and surely the organization will miss out on its involvement in the first two days of the draft for the next two years, but if this trade pans out for them with semblance to the way the Rams have operated in recent history – they run away with the AFC West and secure another Super Bowl title – there will be nothing negative for anyone to say. It will be fun to see the Broncos youthful offensive roster with not just a good, but an elite quarterback. The trajectory of their near future is altered entirely, and they will now enter the 2022-2023 season with a high expectation tagged to them. Pulling off what the Rams have done, however, will be far easier said than done. Denver’s first and foremost obstacle will come in the form of Russ’ new home, the AFC West. Although this Broncos team just got a ton better, they still have to play Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert, and Derek Carr each twice a year.
The AFC West is now among the best and most competitive divisions in all of sports. Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert, Derek Carr, and now Russell Wilson are the quarterbacks of the Chiefs, Chargers, Raiders, and Broncos, and that divisional race is going to be electric. Say what you will about the fact that Russell Wilson has never received an MVP vote, and say what you will about where Derek Carr falls in the “elite” conversation, but those are four bad dudes with guns for arms. There will be some awesome shootouts to come out of the West this season, and likely a huge bump to the already stout rivalries within.