What if Russell Wilson never got traded to the Denver Broncos?

Denver Broncos v Kansas City Chiefs
Denver Broncos v Kansas City Chiefs / David Eulitt/GettyImages

There were multiple teams who were interested in Russell Wilson, but he only wanted to play for the Denver Broncos. What if that wasn't the case and the Broncos missed on both Wilson and Rodgers? I think there are many people in the fanbase who would go back in time and reverse the trade if they could.

I don't blame them, either. However, what's done is done. The Broncos will have Wilson for the next two years at least, but the hope is that he's here for the long term. Sean Payton worked with an aging Drew Brees back in New Orleans and got some insane production out of a QB who had a sub-par arm and zero mobility.

Apparently, both the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Commanders seemed to want to make a huge trade for Wilson:

"Back in April, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said during an interview he was “pretty convinced” Wilson was going to end up with either the Eagles or Commanders around the time of 2022 NFL Combine. The nixed Wilson-to-Philadelphia deal was also previously discussed by quarterback coach and longtime Wilson associate Jake Heaps, who told Denver’s KOA in March of 2022 that landing with the Broncos was the QB’s “clear-cut, number one choice” over offers from Washington and Philly"

Jelani Scott

What's interesting is how adamant Russell Wilson was about being traded to Denver. Both the Eagles and the Commanders did have some QB questions at this stage as well. For the Eagles, they continued to run with Jalen Hurts, and that ended up with them nearly winning a Super Bowl and investing over $250 million on a contract extension for the breakout player, who was also a viable MVP candidate in 2022.

The Washington Commanders tried Carson Wentz under center, which didn't work. Now, they seem to be rallying around Sam Howell in hopes he can bring some success at the QB spot. Well, let's say Russell Wilson was all about playing for the Eagles or Commanders. How would the Broncos look now?

Well, here is what the finalized version of the trade looks like:

The first major part of this trade that the Broncos would have back is the 9th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. This pick was owned by the Broncos and was a huge piece in the Wilson deal. The Seahawks took tackle Charles Cross, who had a nice rookie season. Well, if Denver went into the 2022 NFL Draft without a clear QB option, they may have swung on one in this draft.

The only issue with that is the weak 2022 QB class. Would the Broncos have liked Kenny Pickett? He was the first QB taken but did not come off the board until pick 20 by the Pittsburgh Steelers. It's safe to say that Nathaniel Hackett would have been hired, but we really don't know what he would have liked in a QB if the team didn't acquire Wilson.

Honestly, the Broncos may have re-signed Teddy Bridgewater and likely would have taken a QB in the 2022 NFL Draft. George Paton was in his second year as a GM with the Broncos last offseason, and at some point, he'd need to take a swing on a QB. Well, if Wilson never landed in Denver, the 2022 NFL Draft may have been where he took that swing.

Bridgewater likely would have began the year as the starter with the rookie backing him up.

As for the other picks, the Broncos would have kept their 40th overall selection in 2022. Denver did have a CB need last year, so maybe the team would have used this pick on someone like Andrew Booth or Alontae Taylor.

And then we get to Denver having their own first round pick in 2023. This is where it gets more interesting, though. If the Broncos didn't get Russell Wilson, would they still have the fifth overall selection in 2023? Given how bad of a head coach Nathaniel Hackett was, there's a chance they could have been picking inside the top 10.

It's obviously hard to say what pick they would have had and who would have been available, but the Broncos could very well be in a better situation if they hadn't made the trade. They'd have a top 10 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and likely a top 10 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, along with the second-round picks they gave up.

Who knows if Drew Lock, Shelby Harris, and Noah Fant would still be on the roster, but George Paton may have been better off had Russell Wilson not wanted to be a Bronco.

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