Giving Russell Wilson a big extension was a smart move by the Broncos | You Pod to Win the Game

Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson and Frank Schwab discuss the 5-year, $245 million dollar extension, including $165 million guaranteed, that the Broncos handed Russell Wilson this week. Was it too much for too long? How will this contract be looked at, and impact the rest of the league moving forward. Hear the full conversation on the You Pod to Win the Game podcast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen.

Video Transcript

CHARLES ROBINSON: Obviously, the big news-- Russell Wilson signs his $245 million extension, $165 million guaranteed. I went through their camp, and they were super confident when I went through. They're like, it's going to get done.

I think they thought there was a chance it might have even pushed into the season a little bit. But they knew we're not getting out of the 2022 season without Russ having an extension, which to me, tells me the second they traded for this guy, they're like, we know we're going to sign him to a massive contract extension, probably going to put him in the top two or three quarterbacks paid in the league. Now he's the number two in the NFL.

But you don't make that trade, which-- good organizations don't make trades like that unless they're like, this is our captain. This is our guy. We're going to pay him. We're going to be done with it. The commitment's there. And to me--

FRANK SCHWAB: Not like Bill O'Brien trading for Laremy Tunsil and going, wait, you want a contract extension?

CHARLES ROBINSON: Yeah, yeah, right?

FRANK SCHWAB: What? Huh? Uh-oh.

CHARLES ROBINSON: Yeah, yeah, let's wait until after to have that conversation. No, good for the Broncos. I think it's just a good sign for the Broncos, that it's very competently run right now.

And I don't want to-- I don't want to kill John Elway here at all for his stint as general manager. He did some very good things-- obviously landed them a Super Bowl as the general manager. But I feel pretty good about the job that George Paton's doing there.

FRANK SCHWAB: Yeah. Oh, yeah, absolutely. He's built a great roster. And Elway-- look, for all we bag on Elway, Elway-- look, if you ask the Bears fans, Jets fans, Jaguars fans, whoever, Browns fans, hey, your GM's going to deliver you one Super Bowl, you'd say, whoa, OK. Let's build a statue for that guy.

John Elway built a Super Bowl winner that had a guy with a 69 passer rating at quarterback.

CHARLES ROBINSON: Yeah.

FRANK SCHWAB: Like, I know he was Peyton Manning in name--

CHARLES ROBINSON: People forget that about Manning, yeah.

FRANK SCHWAB: Yeah, yeah, John Elway started unbelievably, and then he just couldn't figure out quarterback after that. I thought this is a very aggressive move by George Paton, a smart move, a good move. I didn't even think they gave up that much to get Russell Wilson. And obviously, he was always going to get paid.

And I thought, yeah, the ownership is changing, so that complicates things. Maybe that pushes it down a little bit. It also-- I know this is across sport, and I don't know how much you-- I know you pay a little bit of attention to baseball. Like, this is a selling point for the Broncos' new owners, right? Hey, we got this quarterback. We're going to pay this guy. He's awesome.

Whereas the Washington Nationals are like, well, we're selling the team. We need to give away Juan Soto. Like, why don't you pay Juan Soto? Like, shouldn't it be like, hey, oh, new owner, we have one of the best young players in baseball to market. And we're going to draw three million fans. Anyway, I'm getting off track.

The two things about this contract that I wanted to ask you about-- one, is it a mistake to have Russell Wilson tied up until he's 40? And two, look, he didn't get the Deshaun Watson fully guaranteed. Does that change things for, like, a Lamar Jackson--

CHARLES ROBINSON: Sure.

FRANK SCHWAB: --or Justin Herbert going forward, where teams are just going to say, look, Deshaun Watson was just an outlier. That contract ain't happening again. Look at Russell Wilson. This is our new bar.

And those two things, what do you think about both?

CHARLES ROBINSON: Great questions. Number one, I think it's smart. He's certainly not a quarterback that you have to worry about, is he going to keep himself in shape? Is there, like, any kind of an issue with arm strength? I truly believe we are entering an era of quarterbacks where, if you have the arm strength, you're not prone to getting injured, you're a solidly built player, and you have a team that's committed to protecting you-- which they do. If you look at their offensive line, it's moving in the right direction.

FRANK SCHWAB: Mm-hmm.

CHARLES ROBINSON: I think they're going to keep building there in the future. So for them, I think they go, we know we're going to protect this guy. We're going to keep him healthy. So I don't think it's a mistake, number one.

Number two, I felt like the first sign was when the Kyler Murray deal came in, and it wasn't fully guaranteed. I felt like there was a lot of pressure on the Arizona Cardinals. Don't turn what is still an outlier-- it's not an automatic, it's not an expectation. Until the second one comes in like this, don't do it.

And when the Cardinals didn't, my assumption was, moving forward, these other contracts weren't, either. I didn't think Lamar would, either. I didn't think-- look, would Lamar get more APY than Kyler Murray? I assumed he would. Would Russ get more APY than Kyler Murray? I assumed he would.

But I figured franchises are going to try to revert back to what the reality is. So yeah, that doesn't surprise me. I think this is-- we're reverting back to sort of, quote, unquote, "normalcy" again. And you're going to see-- I expect the Chargers are going to play more hardball with Justin Herbert than people expect in terms of being fully guaranteed.