The Broncos gave up plenty to get quarterback Russell Wilson. Eventually, the Broncos will have to give up plenty to keep him.
Jeff Howe of TheAthletic.com recently reported that there’s “no timetable” for a new contract to replace Wilson’s current deal, which runs through 2023.
That’s only partially accurate, as a practical matter. Wilson and agent Mark Rodgers typically seek a new contract when Wilson has one year left on his existing agreement. Thus, by next April, it will be time to pay Wilson.
It happened three years ago. Rodgers made it clear that Wilson wanted a new contract before the start of the offseason program. He got one, and it made him the highest paid player (at the time) in league history.
Other factors become relevant. For now, there’s no owner. A year from now, there likely will be one. What happens if the new owner resists paying Wilson market-level money? What happens if the new owner refuses to make the entirety of the contract fully guaranteed, like the Deshaun Watson deal? What happens if Rodgers eventually tries to pull the NFL across the next barrier that teams arguably have colluded to avoid — tying the player’s compensation to a fixed percentage of the salary cap?
There’s every reason for Rodgers to try to get a new contract now. If, after all, Watson can get a huge new contract on the way through the door in Cleveland despite having 22 pending civil lawuits, why shouldn’t Wilson get one, too?
Now is the time to do it, before there’s an owner to potentially get in the way of the talks. To potentially use the negotiation as a way to flex muscles or set a tone regarding the way things will go under the new boss.
The current regime is all in on Wilson. Now is the time for Rodgers to go deep in the coffers of the Broncos to get the kind of contract that could be harder to secure a year from now.
However it plays out, Wilson once again will get paid. The Broncos gave up too much to get him to play hardball with him on his next contract. Still, it makes sense for the regime that made the trade to also do the deal, before the new regime brings a potentially different mindset to the table.