The Broncos finally found their long-sought-after Peyton Manning replacement, as multiple reports indicate they have agreed to a trade for nine-time Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson Tuesday. The reported deal sees the Broncos getting Wilson and a fourth-round pick for Drew Lock, Noah Fant, DL Shelby Harris, two first-round picks, two second-round picks, and a fifth-round pick.
That's a big haul, but it's probably worth it for a Denver team that has thought itself to be a QB away from competing for a while now.
The Broncos have been wandering in the wilderness of tall, inaccurate QBs ever since Manning's retirement, so there is some irony in the fact that their likely savior could not be less like the motley crew that came before him. Wilson is one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the NFL, especially on deep balls, and that takes the entire potential of this offense to a completely different level than what we've seen.
That's exciting news for Jerry Jeudy, Cortland Sutton, and Tim Patrick, of course. The natural assumption is that Jeudy, the 22-year-old, recent 15th overall pick, will be the primary beneficiary, and I'm not going to go against the grain here. Jeudy has been a disappointment so far in his career, and it's fair to wonder how much of that is just because of the QB play he's been saddled with – it's not like he's been that much more impressive than Patrick, his much less heralded teammate.
However, Jeudy is obviously talented. He showed that in college, and he's shown that in flashes in the NFL. He's fast and he's a great route runner and could thrive playing with Wilson as a No. 1 receiver. There will be opportunities for him to make plays in the short and intermediate areas of the field, but it's Russ' skill with the deep ball that could make this pairing special – the Seahawks ranked first in the NFL in passer rating on passes more than 20 yards down the field in 2021, while the Broncos ranked just 20th. If Jeudy emerges as the all-around threat we've long thought he could be, he has top-12 WR upside, and he'll be drafted as a top-24 WR in most leagues in the wake of this trade.
Of course, Sutton is the more natural deep ball threat in this offense, at least based on what we've seen. He struggled to make much of an impact in his first year back from a torn ACL, but the Broncos gave him a four-year contract extension last offseason, so they don't seem too concerned. He likely slots in as the No. 2 option in this offense and could be the kind of high-upside WR2 Tyler Lockett has been in Seattle if you don't mind some inconsistency at times. I'll draft him more like a low-end WR3, but the upside is there for Sutton now.
Fantasy Football Today Newsletter
Know What Your Friends Don't
Get tips, advice and news to win your league - all from the FFT podcast team.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox.
There was an error processing your subscription.
Patrick could also be relevant in this offense, but the bigger concern would be that he's just enough of a threat to keep both Jeudy and Sutton in the high-teen target share range. It's more interesting to consider what this trade means for Albert Okwuegbunam, as Noah Fant was shipped off to Seattle in the deal, according to reports. Okwuegbunam is an incredible physical specimen for the tight end position at 6'6", 258 pounds, running a 4.49 40-yard dash. However, he hasn't made a huge impact yet in his career, catching 44 passes for 451 yards and three touchdowns over 18 games. However, with Fant out of the way, Okwuegbunam could emerge as a big part of this offense and probably deserves to be drafted among the top-12 tight ends in Fantasy on potential alone.
The rising tide that Wilson represents for this offense should also lift the running backs along with them, but until we know whether Melvin Gordon is returning, it's hard to know exactly how to value Javonte Williams. Williams should be drafted as a high-end RB2 either way, but if Gordon is out of the picture and the Broncos don't bring anyone else of note in, Williams will probably be a first-round pick in 2022 drafts. For what it's worth, it does sound like there is mutual interest in a Gordon reunion – though, for what it's worth, many Fantasy analysts may move Williams into the first round no matter what.