By Arnie Stapleton/AP
Denver quarterback Russell Wilson signed a five-year, $245 million extension Thursday that includes $165 million in guarantees, the biggest contract in Broncos history and one of the largest ever in the NFL.
“In addition to being a terrific quarterback and winner, Russell is a dynamic leader whose positive impact is felt throughout our entire team and community,” co-owner and CEO Greg Penner said in a statement, adding, “Our organization is fully committed to winning and competing for Super Bowls with Russell as a Bronco for many years to come."
Wilson’s new deal comes three weeks after the league approved the record $4.65 billion sale of the team to the Walton-Penner ownership group. Led by Walmart heir Rob Walton, it’s the wealthiest ownership group in the NFL.
General manager George Paton thanked Penner "and our entire ownership group for the support and resources to get this long-term extension done.”
The extension pays Wilson an average of $49 million a year beginning in 2024 and keeps him under contract in Denver through the 2028 season for $296 million.
He had two years and $51 million left on his deal when the Broncos acquired him from Seattle for five draft picks and three players in a franchise-changing trade six months ago.
Paton said in a statement that “in just a few short months with the Broncos, Russell has already had a dramatic effect on this organization both on and off the field. His leadership, work-ethic and championship mentality have helped elevate our team in partnership with Coach (Nathaniel) Hackett, his teammates and the staff.”
Although much of the money is in the form of a bonus, Wilson's new deal averages $49 million per year, just shy of Aaron Rodgers' $50 million average on the four-year, $200 million deal the Packers QB signed to stay in Green Bay this year.
In terms of guaranteed money, it's the third-most lucrative contract in NFL history, behind Deshaun Watson's fully-guaranteed $230 million, five-year deal over and Kyler Murray's new five-year, $230.5 million contract that includes $189.5 million guaranteed.
Penner said last month that Paton's trade for Wilson in the spring made the Broncos an even more attractive asset.
“It’s critical to have a great quarterback in this league and coming in this organization with Russell in place is a tremendous benefit for us," Penner said.
“On our first diligence trip in May here, one of the first people we ran into the hallway when Rob, Carrie (Walton Penner), and I were here was Russell,” Penner added. “Right away, we got a sense of how positive he is as a leader. He is just such a dynamic individual. I can’t wait to see him on the field.”
Wilson will make his Denver debut on Sept. 12 when the Broncos open the season at Seattle, where Wilson played for a decade, leading the Seahawks to two Super Bowl appearances and one championship.
Wilson's 113 victories, including one in Super Bowl 48 over the Broncos, are the most for a quarterback in his first 10 NFL seasons.
NOTES: The Broncos signed former Bengals CB Darius Phillips and waived CB Essang Bassey. They also signed second-year T Will Sherman to their practice squad. Sherman played in one game for the Patriots last season after being selected in the sixth round of the draft out of Colorado.
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