In Russell Wilson, the Denver Broncos extended the NFL’s winningest QB for 10 seasons

The Denver Broncos can blow. Russell Wilson is under contract until 2028.

On the heels of the five-year, $245 million extension Wilson received, the Broncos have addressed the biggest problem plaguing this team since Super Bowl 50: the lack of a bona fide franchise quarterback.

Those who doubt Denver’s commitment to Wilson, or skeptics who say he’s “scrubbed,” suffer from the vagaries of recency bias. While it’s true that he’s just had the ‘worst’ season of his career, statistically speaking, we’re talking about a QB who, at the lowest point in his career and in the midst of a tricky finger injury on his throwing hand, still over-producing every flagger who’s started for the Broncos since Super Bowl 50.

The best Denver gleaned at quarterback since winning the Lombardi Trophy is 18 touchdowns for 10 interceptions, which came from Trevor Siemian in 2016 — Gary Kubiak’s last as head coach. Contrast that with Wilson’s production in 2021 in a “down” year: 25 touchdowns for six interceptions with 3,113 passing yards and a 103.1 passer rating.

After wandering the QB wilderness for the past six years, most Broncos fans will pick up this production every day and thrice Sundays.

It is true that the Broncos just paid a player who has not yet dressed on game day. But let’s put that into perspective. What exactly are the Broncos investing in?

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With 113 total wins to his name, Wilson is the winningest starting quarterback in NFL history over his first 10 seasons. He is also a nine-time Pro Bowler, Super Bowl XLVIII champion and Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year 2020.

“But Wilson is not part of the elite!” say the cynics and skeptics. How do you measure an “elite” QB?

If it’s based on wins, then no QB is more elite than Wilson, except maybe Tom Brady. If it’s based on the Pro Bowls, how many flaggers at least a decade into his career can say he made it to the Pro Bowl 90% of the time he played in the NFL?

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Rings? Check. Statistical output? Let’s talk about that.

Among active quarterbacks since 2012, when Wilson entered the league as Seattle’s third-round draft pick, he ranks in the top 10 in touchdown passes (292—2nd), completions (3,079— 4th), passing yards (37059—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 in 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 is also one of only four QBs in NFL history to post a passer rating above 100. (101.8). The only other quarterbacks to do so are Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson and Aaron Rodgers.

What about reliability from a health point of view? Wilson has started a total of 174 out of 177 games. For those like me who don’t do the math well, he’s only missed three career starts, and they all came last year with that Mallet finger .

Perhaps it’s the playoff cache that measures an “elite” QB. If so, let’s marvel at Wilson’s 16 playoff starts in eight seasons, where he threw for 25 touchdowns with 12 interceptions and posted a 95.3 passer rating while completing 275 of 451 passes (61 .0%) for 3,786 yards.

Yeah, the Broncos knew what they were investing in. Wilson oozes cache, influence and good faith.

In fact, Wilson might be the safest investment in professional football history.


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