Coming off of the first losing season of his career and his last with the Seattle Seahawks, Russell Wilson has signed an extension with the Broncos that will keep the 33-year-old quarterback in Denver until he is 40 unless he is traded or released by the team.
Already under contract for two seasons, Wilson agreed to a five-year, $245 million contract extension that includes $165 million guaranteed, sources told ESPN. With the new deal, Wilson is under contract with Denver through the 2028 season with an average salary of $49 million a year for a total value of $296 million. Outside of Deshaun Watson ($230 million) and Kyler Murray ($189.5 million), no player in the NFL is guaranteed more money than Wilson and he is substantially older than the two quarterbacks who are ahead of him on the list. (Former league MVP Lamar Jackson is still working on an extension with the Ravens and you can be sure he has taken notice of Wilson’s deal and will want to eclipse it.)
The Broncos, who traded three players, two first-round picks and two second-round picks to Seattle to acquire Wilson, have been all-in on the former Seahawk from the jump so an extension was always in the cards. With the salary cap likely to increase with each passing year as more money gets pumped into the NFL, the deal will look better over time and may even turn into somewhat of a bargain — provided Wilson can play at a high level. Last year, due to a combination of injury, offensive scheme and ineffectiveness, that was something he struggled with.
Now competing in a division that includes two star quarterbacks in Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert and a borderline star in Derek Carr, the Broncos will need Wilson to play like the quarterback who took Seattle to back-to-back Super Bowls. The nine-time Pro Bowler is certainly capable of it, but he also certainly didn’t play like it last year.
Despite that, gambling on Wilson, who has said he wants to play another “10-12 years” since joining the Broncos, seems like a solid bet for a Denver franchise that has started Trevor Siemian, Case Keenum, Joe Flacco, Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback in season openers since Peyton Manning retired after the 2015 Super Bowl season. A reliable starter who never missed a game prior to last season, Wilson ranks second in starts (158), regular season wins (104) and playoff wins (nine) since entering the NFL in 2012.
Wilson’s first game after getting his new deal will be on Monday Night Football when the Broncos start their season in, of all places, Seattle.