There were three star quarterbacks with their current futures in doubt this offseason—Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, and Deshaun Watson. All faced extreme cap hits or had previously requested or intimated openness to a trade. Today, two of those three dominoes fell.
Rodgers became the highest paid player in NFL history. Rather than force a trade somewhere else, he reportedly will sign an extension to remain in Green Bay, where he will probably finish out his career. Rodgers’ new deal is a four-year, $200 million extension, with $153 million guaranteed.
The #Packers and MVP QB Aaron Rodgers have agreed to terms on a 4-year, $200M deal that makes him the highest paid player in NFL history, sources say. He gets a whopping $153M guaranteed and his cap number goes down. A monstrous commitment by GB for years to come.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 8, 2022
At age 38, this extension will take Rodgers until the age of 42. The back-to-back NFL MVP is a top five quarterback despite his age, and the Packers will try to do the impossible next season—win home playoff games to get to the Super Bowl. The Packers also franchise-tagged Davante Adams. After all the offseason drama and Last Dance memes, the Packers remain the same.
The rumor was that Rodgers would join the Denver Broncos. His former offensive coordinator, Nathaniel Hackett, signed on to become Denver’s head coach to replace Vic Fangio. The idea was that Rodgers would want to be paired with Hackett, with a new team built to make playoff runs, while the Packers crumbled due to their own cap issues.
Denver settled for the next best option. The Broncos completed a trade with the Seahawks for Russell Wilson. Denver gave up two first round selections, two second round selections, a fifth round pick, Drew Lock, Shelby Harris, and Noah Fant in exchange for Wilson and a fourth round selection.
The Broncos have been “a quarterback away” for two seasons now. They have the pass catchers, a great secondary, a solid front seven, a powerful power run game, and now they have a quarterback. In a tough AFC, the Broncos should compete for a playoff spot at a minimum.
For the Houston Texans and their fanbase, who wanted a minimum of three first round picks for Watson, the Wilson trade indicates they may get less than that. Watson is still facing sexual assault allegations, and his market has been stagnated. The Broncos were a possible trade partner for Houston, and they are off the table now, removing at least one team that could drive up the Watson sweepstakes.
At this point, looking at the haul the Seahawks got for Wilson and the legal issues clouding Watson’s future, two first round picks, two second round picks, a competent player, a good young tight end, and a backup quarterback would be a tremendous haul for Watson. The question now is if Houston could even get that much, now that an All-Pro caliber quarterback without any strings attached was moved for that package.
On the other hand, the Wilson trade also opens the door for the Seattle Seahawks to trade for Watson. They can add their own picks to the haul they just received for Wilson and package players to go to Houston. Three firsts, three seconds, Fant, Darrell Taylor, and whoever else you want to throw in there? The Broncos are off the board, but the Seahawks are now on it.
After being concerned about how the quarterback market would play out and how fast it would develop, the quarterback carousel has turned into a tornado. The Broncos and Packers have their guys. Two big decisions have been made. Now the Texans turn to Washington, or Carolina, or Cleveland, or Philadelphia, or Minnesota, or New York (G) and hope those teams stop waiting and start moving on.