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Why Russell Wilson’s extension places huge pressure on Broncos

Russell Wilson received a big payday last week, and with that comes big expectations — for him and the Broncos

Wilson agreed to a five-year, $245 million extension before even playing a game with Denver, which traded a pair of first- and second-round picks along with Drew Lock, Noah Fant and Shelby Harris to get its franchise quarterback from Seattle in March. 

The deal makes Wilson the second-highest paid quarterback on an annual basis, trailing just Aaron Rodgers, with Patrick Mahomes, Kyler Murray, Deshaun Watson and Josh Allen not far behind. 

On Monday’s “The Herd,” Colin Cowherd noted that all of the highest-paid quarterbacks have run into a similar issue.

“The minute a quarterback signs this deal — and Denver will pay him $55 million in a couple of years — you’re going to be incredibly top-heavy,” Cowherd said. “There’s going to be a unit or two on your team that’s weak. You’re going to put an enormous amount of pressure on your organization because you gave up so many first- and second-round picks that you’ve got to hit on your third- and fourth-round picks.”

Why Wilson’s extension puts pressure on Broncos

Russell Wilson locked in a five-year, $245 million extension with the Broncos, making him one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL. Colin Cowherd explains why that brings extra pressure to his team.

Because the Broncos have less money and fewer resources to work with as a result of trading for and extending Wilson, Cowherd wished the star quarterback took less money in his extension to get the best possible team around him. 

Cowherd pointed to a recent example of a quarterback sacrificing some salary in exchange for building a better team around him.

Matt Stafford took less,” Cowherd said. “They could afford Bobby Wagner. They re-signed Aaron Donald. They re-signed Cooper Kupp. They went out and got Allen Robinson. They’ve still got $7.5 million left in cap space, so they could keep [Odell Beckham Jr.].”

Stafford signed a four-year, $160 million extension with the Rams in March. With the $40 million annual value, Stafford is tied for the eighth-highest-paid contract in the NFL on an annual basis, per Spotrac.

Stafford isn’t the only example of a quarterback taking less money to help his team. Tom Brady took less compared to the highest-paid quarterbacks for many of his 20 seasons with the Patriots

Brady is still making less money than his counterparts. After making $25 million per year in his first two seasons in Tampa, Brady is set to make just $15 million this upcoming season, which ranks 15th among all quarterbacks. 

Although Brady doesn’t make as much money playing football, Cowherd believes that his winning seven Super Bowls will help him continue to make much more money elsewhere and wishes that Wilson and other quarterbacks took a similar route. 

“My takeaway is what makes Tom Brady a legend, the reason why Brady signed some $30 million per year contract with FOX Sports when retires is not because he’s handsome, it’s because he won Super Bowls,” Cowherd said. “That’s why Tom Brady’s coming to FOX. It’s not because he’s good-looking and won a bunch of games. He won Super Bowls — because he took pay cuts. 

“If you want to end up with three Super Bowls, you’ve got to take a little less. There’s a reason Brady’s the [greatest of all time]. He’s never had the best arm. He’s never been the best athlete. He’s never had the best body. He’s never been the most mobile. He just won a lot. He’s the quarterback that’s always shown you, ‘I’ll take a little less, I want to win.'”

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