ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — The Denver Broncos have finally found a worthy successor in Peyton Manning.
Six years and a day after Manning’s retirement, Broncos general manager George Paton has agreed to send a huge swath of players and draft picks to the Seattle Seahawks for nine-time Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson, two people familiar with the negotiations confirmed to The Associated Press. Tuesday.
The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the hit trade, which is waiting for Wilson to pass a medical, cannot go official until the start of the league’s new year on March 16.
Teams can’t comment on deal until then, but Broncos smart tweeted a snippet of Tom Hanks’ character in “Cast Away”, drawing a face on the volleyball, he named “Wilson”.
About an hour later, the Seahawks tweeted another clip from that film in which Hanks’ thin, skinny character loses volleyball at sea and yells, ” Wilson, where are you? Wilson! Wilson! ”
Denver was considered Aaron Rodgers’ favorite before the reigning two-time MVP agreed on Tuesday to stay at Green Bay, presumably as the highest-paid player in NFL history. Shortly after, Paton landed a Super Bowl-winning quarterback anyway, and who is five years younger than the 38-year-old Packers star.
The NFL Network reported that the Seahawks agreed to send Wilson and a fourth-round pick to Denver in exchange for two first-round picks, two second-round picks and one fifth-round pick, plus quarterback Drew Lock. , defensive end Shelby Harris and tight end Noah Fant, the Broncos’ 2019 first-round pick.
Since Manning retired a month after winning Super Bowl 50, the Broncos have gone through 10 starting quarterbacks, including a different starter in each of the last five season openers: Trevor Siemic, Case Keenum, Joe Flacco , Lock and Teddy Bridgewater, who beat Lock last summer.
The Broncos haven’t returned to the playoffs since Manning’s retirement, but they appear to have a playoff-worthy roster. New coach Nathaniel Hackett, a former offensive coordinator for Rodgers, is building an offense around dynamic wide receivers Jerry Jeudy, Courtland SuttonTim Patrick and KJ Hamler, tight end Albert Okwuegbunam and running back Javonte Williams.
And now he’s got the quarterback to make it all work, one who can stack up with Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert and Derek Carr in the tough AFC West.
Jeudy tweeted a frowning emoji at the word of Rodgers staying put, then he tweeted a smiling emoji when it was learned that Wilson was heading to Denver.
The Seahawks had made it clear they weren’t interested in moving Wilson unless a conversion offer came along.
Seattle’s offseason had mostly focused on defense adjustments with practice and pattern changes, and the belief that with Wilson still at quarterback, the Seahawks would remain contenders in the stacked NFC West.
Last week at the NFL’s scouting meeting in Indianapolis, coach Pete Carroll said general manager John Schneider was getting calls about Wilson’s availability, but the Seahawks weren’t buying him.
The trade, however, was the culmination of more than a year of accumulation. Wilson first expressed his displeasure with the franchise last offseason after Seattle won the division but lost in the first round of the playoffs.
The acrimony got to the point that his agent publicly voiced which teams Wilson would be willing to trade with, but the quarterback and the Seahawks moved forward together for one more season.
However, it was still the offseason that seemed to make the most sense for a potential transfer with Wilson. He has two years left on his current contract and a salary cap of $37 million for the 2022 season.
Wilson was a 2012 third-round pick at Wisconsin. He won the starting job as a rookie after Seattle signed Matt Flynn in free agency. The decision to go with Wilson was one of the smartest Carroll has ever made.
Wilson started 149 regular season games and 16 playoff games before fracturing his right middle finger and missing four games last season when he was 6-8. Seattle finished 7-10, the only losing season of Wilson’s tenure.
He struggled on his return but finished strong, showing it was more of an injury-ridden stretch than an indication he was in some kind of decline.
Wilson helped Seattle win its only Super Bowl title with a 43-8 defeat of Manning and the Broncos in Super Bowl 48, then lost to Tom Brady and the Patriots in the Super Bowl a year later. Overall, he is 9-7 in the playoffs.
Lock is 8-13 with 25 touchdown passes and 20 interceptions in three seasons in Denver.
Unless the Seahawks condition their newly acquired picks and attempt to land, say, Deshaun Watson of the Texans if he resolves his legal issues, it looks like a bigger rebuild could be in play for Seattle.
The Seahawks have major free agent questions with left tackle Duane Brown, safety Quandre Diggs, cornerback DJ Reed and running back Rashaad Penny. There have also been questions about 31-year-old linebacker Bobby Wagner’s future in Seattle, with the Seahawks facing a $20 million cap under his current contract.
And now they need a starting quarterback.
AP Pro football writer Rob Maaddi and sportswriter Tim Booth contributed.
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