Late Wednesday night, the Broncos and quarterback Russell Wilson reached an agreement that will keep Wilson in Denver for seven years. It almost didn’t happen.
The two sides had a deadline of midnight on September 1 to get a deal done in 2022, PFT has learned.
G.M. George Paton hinted at how close the contract carriage came to turning into a pumpkin, at least until after the 2022 season ended.
“It came down to the wire last night,” Paton told reporters. “We had a deadline. I felt we would figure it out, but you never know. We’ve never done a deal together. [Agent] Mark [Rodgers] is tough. [Vice President of Football Administration] Rich [Hurtado] is tough. You’re like, ‘How is this going to work?’ . . . I went home last night. It was like 11:30 [p.m.] and I hadn’t heard anything. . . . I fell asleep, then the phone rang. I don’t know what time — maybe 11:45. It was a FaceTime. It was Russ and Ciara. I couldn’t figure out the phone, so I lost them. I was like, ‘Are they going to ask for more money? What are they doing?’ They called again and I answered, and it was one of the best phone calls I’ve ever received. Ciara, Russ and even Mark was on the call. It was pretty cool stuff and I’ll remember that. That’s the best I’ve felt after a deal.”
It’s not the first time Wilson used an artificial deadline to get a new contract. In 2019, he made it clear to the Seahawks that a new deal had to be done, if at all, by start of the offseason program. And it happened.
Artificial deadlines can be a challenge, because they’re artificial. Both sides need to be fully committed to respecting the deadline — and to acting accordingly if it passes without a deal.
For the Broncos and Wilson, the reason for it was obvious. The season opener against the Seahawks is coming. No one needed the contract to distract from the task at hand.
And now it won’t.