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#pounditThursday, February 9, 2023

Report: Broncos wanted another star QB over Russell Wilson

Russell Wilson in practice gear

Jun 13, 2022; Englewood, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) during mini camp drills at the UCHealth Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos were thrilled when they acquired Russell Wilson in a blockbuster trade with the Seattle Seahawks, but that does not mean he was their first choice.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler spoke with multiple NFL executives who are convinced that the Broncos wanted to trade for Aaron Rodgers during the offseason and pivoted to Wilson when they could not get the reigning MVP.

“Aaron Rodgers, I could understand giving up that sort of package, but not Russell,” an executive from an NFC team told Fowler. “Denver didn’t have any familiarity with the player or his fit in the system, and he’s declining as an aging, smaller quarterback.”

Rodgers also seems to be declining, and he turned 39 on Friday. Still, it is fair to wonder if he would have been a better fit for Nathaniel Hackett’s system, which has been a disaster in the head coach’s first year with the Broncos. Hackett was the offensive coordinator for the Packers from 2019-2021. Some believed at the time that Denver’s plan was to hire him and then lure Rodgers away from Green Bay.

It is easy to say the Broncos made a mistake given how terribly their year has gone, but the Rodgers talk is not revisionist history. There were numerous reports that Denver was willing to make a big offer for Rodgers. He eventually worked things out with the Packers and signed an extension.

Would the Broncos have been better off with Rodgers? We will never know, but it would be almost impossible for them to be worse offensively than they have been in Wilson’s first season with the team.

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