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ESPN: NFL Execs 'Still Convinced' Broncos Wanted Aaron Rodgers over Russell Wilson

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVDecember 1, 2022

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - NOVEMBER 27: Russell Wilson #3 of the Denver Broncos warms up during their game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on November 27, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

If the Denver Broncos had their choice, they might have hitched their wagons to a different franchise quarterback this offseason.

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported Thursday that multiple executives around the NFL "are still convinced" Denver preferred Green Bay Packers star Aaron Rodgers over Russell Wilson.

One executive from an NFC team thought the team erred in a big way by not only giving up multiple draft picks for Wilson but also signing him to a five-year, $242.6 million extension.

"Aaron Rodgers, I could understand giving up that sort of package, but not Russell," the exec said. "Denver didn't have any familiarity with the player or his fit in the system, and he's declining as an aging, smaller quarterback."

An executive from the AFC was a little more generous, arguing to Fowler that "many teams would have made the same trade, at the time."

As much as Wilson has struggled, landing Rodgers may not have been a home run for the Broncos, either.

The four-time MVP is mired in his worst season since taking over as Green Bay's full-time starter in 2008. He has thrown for 2,682 yards, 21 touchdowns and nine interceptions, and his 41.3 QBR ranks 27th, per ESPN.com.

Rodgers wouldn't have carried quite the same long-term risk as Wilson, assuming he would've settled on a similar extension with Denver to what he signed with the Packers (three years, $150.8 million).

Having to choose between two quarterbacks who appear to be on the decline is an appropriate outcome for a franchise that has failed to develop a true homegrown QB since John Elway retired more than 20 years ago.