Russell Wilson described the Denver Broncos as the 'perfect fit' when he sealed his Seattle Seahawks exit in one of the biggest trades in league history.
The Super Bowl-winning quarterback needed a change of scenery after growing increasingly antsy about the direction the Seahawks were headed.
In Denver, they hope he's the missing peice of a jigsaw that upon completion will reveal a championship contender for not just 2022 but several years to come.
So how realistic are the Broncos' chances of making it work with Wilson and potentially bringing a fourth Lombardi Trophy to Mile High?
The Broncos recognized that they had a roster full of talent in almost all positions except the most important one and felt they had a couple of shots at lassoing a thoroughbred. And just hours after Aaron Rodgers' future suddenly became settled in Green Bay, it was announced that Wilson was their man.
He should have enough weapons on offense to make an instant impact with second-year rusher Javonte Williams and veteran workhorse Melvin Gordon providing a nice one-two punch in the backfield. At wideout, Jerry Jeudy has shown some Pro Bowl potential already and Courtland Sutton could rediscover the 2019 breakout form he showed before injury.
The tight end room looks a little thin after Noah Fant's departure and the offensive line regressed in 2021, despite the ability of their backs to make the most of the tiniest holes.
The Broncos' defence ranked third in the NFL last year and that's despite losing Von Miller to the Rams halfway through, so there's a real platform for success for a motivated and proven QB to work off.
Wilson was a proven commodity, but his commitment to the Seahawks' cause had clearly wavered in the last couple of years and that was a situation that was doing nobody any good.
First, there was a finger injury, then tensions arose over personnel decisions and the firing of offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer before a breaking point emerged when Wilson stormed out of a team meeting because he felt his concerns weren't being addressed.
Like he did when was described as an undersized and underwhelming draft choice in 2012, Wilson must now set about proving a few people wrong and the Broncos will hope to keep that fire lit underneath him.
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Super Bowl-contending teams all have a use-by date on them, some of which can be much more long-term than others. The Broncos could well be in the early throes of a New England Patriots-esque dynasty in which they dominate their conference and get multiple opportunities to go all the way, but they're most probably not.
And this isn't a relatively short-term window enjoyed by some teams that benefit from an inexpensive rookie quarterback deal and can focus all their spending on assembling a strong team around the young gun for a two to three-year period.
No, this is Denver doing what they did in 2014 by enticing Hall of Fame QB Peyton Manning to Colorado and investing heavily in free agents at the expense of draft picks by trading away the long-term future of the franchise.
The Los Angeles Rams are the current poster boys for this approach and, even if it goes horribly wrong for them over the next few years, they can look back with fond memories to winning Super Bowl LVI in their own stadium.
Wilson's acquisition came at a hefty price with the Broncos giving up two first-round picks, two-second round picks and swapping a fifth-round pick for a fourth-rounder while also jettisoning two starting-calibre players and a QB they had given up on.
The dumping of Drew Lock, who they gave enough chances, looks unlikely to come back and bite them, but tight end Noah Fant and defensive lineman Shelby Harris could have been very useful to them the next couple of years.
Seattle had totally different draft needs, so there's little point in dissecting their 2022 selections. But how little Broncos GM George Paton has left himself to work with should Denver need help in midseason to keep a title run on track could become a big issue.
Paton has some mid-round selections that he can use to fill gaps if the right players become available, but Broncos fans shouldn't expect to see any splashy trades until the lead-up to the 2024 draft comes around.
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