ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler ran a poll from NFL executives, coaches, and scouts ranking their top-10 quarterbacks for 2023 and Wilson failed to make the list.
There were over 80 ballots submitted and there was not a single vote for Denver’s quarterback. After the top-10 quarterbacks were named, Folwer listed the honorable mentions that included Deshaun Watson, Kirk Cousins, Jared Goff, Derek Carr, and Tua Tagovailoa,
Geno Smith and Daniel Jones each received at least one vote ahead of Wilson after both led their teams to at least a .500 record. Justin Fields, entering his third season posted a 3-12 overall record when starting games received a vote as well as Kyler Murray who is unlikely to be heathy midway through the season.
In 2022, Wilson had a career low 16 touchdown passes in the 15 games that he appeared in and completed just 60.5 percent of his passes which ranked 31st in the NFL. The Broncos went 4-11 in games started by Wilson last season.
Broncos Went All-In on Russell Wilson
After going through 11 different starting quarterbacks since the Broncos won the 2016 Super Bowl with Peyton Manning, they knew once again that they needed to find their franchise quarterback in 2022.
The Broncos tried a quarterback battle between Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater, but they had a combined quarterback record of 7-10 in the regular season. Denver tried every avenue they could to find the future and even tried making a trade for Aaron Rodgers before he decided to stay in Green Bay for one more year.
On March 8, the Broncos made an agreement with the Seattle Seahawks to trade for Wilson making it one of the biggest trades in NFL history. Denver sent two first-round picks, two second-round picks, a fifth-round pick, Lock, tight end Noah Fant, and defensive lineman Shelby Harris to Seattle for their Super Bowl-winning quarterback and a fourth-round pick.
The Broncos then went on giving Wilson everything he wanted, even more than Manning ever received in his four seasons in Denver.
The Denver brass gave Wilson’s wife, kids, and bodyguards access to the team facility to use the restrooms during training camp when there was a restroom outside for the rest of the friends and family that sat in the VIP tent. Wilson was also given an office that he could use within the facility that other players never used before.
During a struggling training camp and not having played in a single regular season game, general manager George Paton and team owners went ahead and gave Wilson a new five-year extension worth $245 million with $165 million of it guaranteed.
If Wilson cannot figure things out and get back to playing the way he did in Seattle, the Broncos might be forced to move on by eating a large cap number that they don’t want to eat over the next two years.
Unless newly acquired head coach, Sean Payton, can improve Wilson’s play, the Broncos might be looking for a new general manager and their 13th starting quarterback since Manning.
Sean Payton Knows How to Fix Russell Wilson
After the Broncos started the season off with a 2-2 overall record, Payton jumped on “The Herd With Colin Cowherd” in October and explained that Wilson can be fixed.
“You correct flaws immediately, and then we don’t worry about how long the process is going to take,” Payton said. “In other words, I’d want a cut-up today of all of Russell’s pass plays of 30 or more yards from the field and I’d want to see, ‘Are there some schemes that he felt very comfortable with?’”
Payton also mentioned that he would like to see what Wilson did successfully in Seattle.
“I know that they did a great job in Seattle of bringing him off of a naked-boot and then pulling up,” Payton said. “And then we all saw that throwback to [Tyler] Lockett across the field where the ball traveled 60 yards in the air.”
Payton would also want to see the touchdowns that Wilson has thrown in the red zone.
“I’d want to look at another film of his red zone touchdown passes inside the 20,” Payton said. “What I’m asking for from assistants is, I’m asking for some of his greatest hits, and to make sure that we have those song lyrics available, and if not, let’s put them in.”
After the Broncos fired head coach Nathaniel Hackett in 15 games, Wilson’s numbers increased for the final two games of the season.
His passing yards per game increased 20 more yards per game and his completion percentage went up from 60.5 percent to nearly 63 percent.
Wilson’s passer rating also jumped from 82.6 to 96.5.
It’s clear that the fate of the Broncos’ future lies in the hands of Wilson and Payton.