Broncos GM Says DEN 'in It for the Long Haul' with Russell Wilson Despite Struggles

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVOctober 27, 2022

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 17: Russell Wilson #3 of the Denver Broncos rolls out of the pocket during a 19-16 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium on October 17, 2022 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos are looking at the big picture despite a slow start to the season with new quarterback Russell Wilson.

"We are in it for the long haul with Russ, not seven games," general manager George Paton told reporters Thursday. "I believe in Russ. We just need to play better on offense."

The Broncos acquired Wilson in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks that cost three players and five draft picks, including two firsts, before agreeing to a five-year, $245 million extension with the quarterback.

It means Denver is committed to Wilson despite the disappointing 2-5 start to the season, with an offense that ranks dead last in the NFL with just 14.3 points per game.

Wilson missed Week 7 with a hamstring injury, although he has struggled when on the field with just five passing touchdowns and three interceptions in six games. His 83.4 passer rating would be the worst of his career, far below his 101.8 mark over 10 years with the Seahawks.

The quarterback's 35.2 Total QBR ranks 29th of 32 qualified players in the NFL this season.

Despite the issues, the Broncos don't really have much choice besides sticking with Wilson. The organization would be left with $107 million in dead cap if the quarterback was released in the offseason, per Spotrac.

It would take until at least 2025 for there to be a reasonable cap figure, and even that leaves $49.6 million after a trade or release.

Paton still stands by the contract extension, as he explained Thursday:

"We wanted to get ahead of the contract cycle. We had seen how Russ was in the offseason and training camp and we felt really good about Russ. We feel really good about Russ. We wanted to get ahead of it. We didn’t want a lot of distraction during the season. We feel really good about it. I feel good about that deal. I feel like it will hold up. I feel good about Russ."

Wilson and the Broncos will try to turn things around Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars in London.