Russell Wilson Turned Down AFC Contender Prior to Broncos Trade: Report

Russell Wilson

Getty Images Russell Wilson practices with his team on July 27, 2022.

Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos took the practice field in the team’s training camp for the first time on July 27.

The Broncos are excited for the 2022 season after trading Drew Lock, tight end Noah Fant, defensive lineman Shelby Harris, two first-round picks, two second-round picks and a 2022 fifth-round to the Seattle Seahawks for the nine-time Pro Bowl quarterback.

There was, however, another AFC team that was interested in the idea of Wilson as their quarterback.

Before they traded for Deshaun Watson, the Cleveland Browns attempted to trade for Wilson, but he wasn’t “interested” in playing for the Browns according to NFL insider Benjamin Allbright.

“Can confirm Browns made a play for Russ Wilson (not the first time) this off season, but was not interested in playing there,” Allbright said. “Chose Broncos over multiple other teams.”

It’s easy to say that the Browns have their quarterback in Watson. He’s a three-time Pro Bowler and was given a five-year, $230 million fully guaranteed contract.

But the 26-year-old quarterback is facing a potentially lengthy suspension as he’s been accused of sexual misconduct by 24 women and has settled 20 of the civil lawsuits.

One thing is for sure.

Denver doesn’t have the headache that Watson brings while also giving less for Wilson than the Texans return (three first-round picks and one third and fourth-round pick) for Watson.

Wilson Sends Strong Statement

It’s a matter of when — not if — the Broncos hand out an extension to Wilson.

But after Wednesday’s practice, Wilson was asked if he was thinking about an extension, especially after the lucrative deal that was given to Kyler Murray and Lamar Jackson also in line to receive one in Baltimore.

“I don’t really worry about those guys and what they’re doing,” Wilson told reporters in his press conference. “[It’s] awesome for them. Obviously Kyler, great for him. Obviously, Lamar and his situation — but it has nothing, really, to do with me. I’m excited to be here. I know that. I know I want to be here for a long, long time, hopefully the rest of my career. And just, it’s been a blessing just to be here with these guys. To be here with George Paton, he’s been amazing to me. Coach Hackett, first class, unbelievable mind, unbelievable way how he leads this football team and the rest of the coaching staff, the players, the organization.

Wilson’s contract goes through the 2023 season. It’s the same contract that hands Wilson an average annual value of $35 million, which is now much less than Murray’s extension that gives him $46.1 million annually.

The only goal Wilson will tell reporters is his desire to win a Super Bowl, which he hasn’t done so since 2013.

“This is a tremendous honor,” Wilson on playing for his team, general manager George Paton and head coach Nathaniel Hackett. “Every day I look at it as treating every day as a new day. And treating every day as just going into it. That’s my focus, my sole focus, is winning a Super Bowl for the Denver Broncos and more.”

GM Discusses Wilson’s Future

Broncos general manager George Paton spoke to reporters on July 26 and while he didn’t give a timeline on Wilson’s potential extension, he’s optimistic that a deal will be reached.

“We all want Russell here a long time. I appreciate the question. Out of respect for his team, our team, we’re just going to keep it in-house,” Paton said, via NBC. “Any decisions we may or may not have. I have a really good relationship with Russ’ agent, Mark Rogers, and at the right time, we’ll get a deal done.”

Paton took the Broncos job in 2021. The team went 7-10 last season, but they needed an answer at quarterback. The trade for Wilson is what Paton calls “game-changing for our locker room, the day-to-day, and for our football team.”

It won’t be easy, however, with quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert and Derek Carr in the AFC West.

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