Russell Wilson, Broncos agree to terms on five-year, $245M extension


Wilson agreed to terms on a five-year, $245 million extension with the Denver Broncos, including $165 million guaranteed, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday, per sources.

The quarterback had two seasons remaining on his deal signed in Seattle, so the extension ties him to Denver for the next seven years.

After shelling out players and draft picks to acquire Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks in March, the plan was always to extend Wilson. Sides waited for the new Walton-Penner ownership group to be approved and weigh in before striking the long-term contract.

The $49 million per year in new money on the five-year extension puts Wilson right behind back-to-back MVP Aaron Rodgers ($50.3 million) and ahead of Kyler Murray($46.1 million). But the $165 million guaranteed falls short of Deshaun Watson’s fully guaranteed $230 million deal.

After a decade in Seattle under Pete Carroll’s ground-first approach, Wilson now takes over in Denver under former Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. Expectations have soared a Mile High in Denver since acquiring Wilson, who helped generate 10-plus wins in eight of his 10 seasons in Seattle.

As the prettiest deep-ball thrower in the NFL, Wilson will help open up a restricted Broncos offense, and it’s his opportunity to prove he can win while cooking.

With two years left on Wilson’s deal, the Broncos could have hedged and let the 2022 season play out before determining if a big extension made sense. Instead, they backed up their all-in play and their belief that the 33-year-old is the missing piece to their playoff puzzle.

Wilson returns to Seattle in Week 1 with a new team and a new whopper of a contract.

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Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos agree to 5-year extension worth $245 million, including $165 million guaranteed, sources say

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — From the moment the Denver Broncos landed Russell Wilson in a franchise-altering trade this past March, general manager George Paton insisted that the team’s goal was to sign the star quarterback to a long-term extension.

Paton and the Broncos achieved that goal Thursday, agreeing with Wilson on a five-year, $245 million extension that includes $165 million in guaranteed money, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The megadeal is the third-most lucrative contract in NFL history in terms of guaranteed money, behind only Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson’s $230 million and Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray’s $189.5 million.

Wilson, 33, is now under contract with the Broncos through the 2028 season for $296 million. The extension pays Wilson, who has two years remaining on his previous deal signed with the Seahawks, an average salary of $49 million. He is set to make $24 million this season and $27 million next year before the extension kicks in.

Wilson, entering his 11th NFL season, previously echoed Paton’s hopes for a long-term deal with Denver, saying at the start of training camp that he wanted to be with the Broncos “for a long, long time, hopefully the rest of my career.”

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The Broncos traded five draft picks, including two first-round and two second-round selections, and three players to the Seahawks to acquire Wilson in March — seeking stability and stardom at quarterback, a problem spot since Peyton Manning’s retirement in 2016.

The formal arrival of the franchise’s new ownership group — the Walton-Penner group, led by Walmart heir Rob Walton — only enhanced the Broncos’ chances of getting the deal done with Wilson. The group’s $4.65 billion purchase of the Broncos was formally approved Aug. 9 by the NFL owners.

The group — which includes Walton’s daughter, Carrie Walton Penner, son-in-law Greg Penner, Mellody Hobson, Condoleezza Rice and Lewis Hamilton — is the wealthiest ownership group in the NFL.

Penner, now the Broncos’ CEO, recently said it was “critical to have a great quarterback in this league, and coming in this organization with Russell in place is a tremendous benefit for us.”

Wilson, who has said that he intends to play 10 to 15 more years, said the ownership group excited him for the team’s future because of its “energy” and “commitment to winning.”

Wilson’s 292 career touchdown passes are the second most in league history for a quarterback in his first 10 NFL seasons, behind only Manning’s 306. Tom Brady (324) and Aaron Rodgers (317) are the only two players with more touchdown passes than Wilson over the past 10 years.

Wilson, who quarterbacked the Seahawks to their only Super Bowl title in franchise history — beating the Broncos after the 2014 season in Super Bowl XLVIII — also has been a consistent winner in his NFL career. His 113 wins as a starting quarterback (regular season and postseason combined) are the most for any NFL player in his first 10 seasons.

Wilson’s Broncos debut will be a homecoming on Sept. 12, when Denver visits Seattle on Monday Night Football.

The Broncos have not been to the playoffs since their Super Bowl 50 win and have had a turnstile behind center, with 10 different starting quarterbacks over the past six seasons. An 11th player — running back Phillip Lindsay — started a game in 2020 when the Broncos were without three quarterbacks, including then-starter Drew Lock, because of COVID-19 protocol violations.

Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa voted team captain for first time

MIAMI — The Dolphins announced their team captains Thursday, with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa heading the list.

Tagovailoa was named a captain for the first time in his NFL career after a player-led voting process. Coach Mike McDaniel said the third-year quarterback was the “resounding highest point winner,” which spoke to the level of confidence his teammates have in him.

“I think it says everything. I think that’s incredibly important when it’s done with the right reasons and the right intent,” McDaniel said. “The only thing that I gave to the players was, ‘who do you want representing you each and every game, who do you want to wear the C and understand what that C means on your Jersey?’

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“I think it speaks volumes on where he’s at with the team and their belief in him.”

Alongside Tagovailoa as Miami’s team captains are safety Jevon Holland, wide receiver Tyreek Hill, left tackle Terron Armstead, linebacker Elandon Roberts, defensive lineman Christian Wilkins and cornerback Xavien Howard.

Holland, in particular, has impressed McDaniel entering his second season. The 22-year-old second-round pick was a standout throughout training camp and feels like he has improved in every aspect.

“I don’t think I hit my ceiling yet,” Holland said in August. “As a competitor, as a high-level competitor, I hold myself to a high standard. So every day, I’m trying to get one percent better than I was yesterday.”

Hill and Armstead were Miami’s key additions this offseason and immediately established themselves as leaders among their position groups. McDaniel previously applauded Hill for helping set the standard in the Dolphins’ locker room, in terms of his accountability on and off the field.

Howard is a three-time Pro Bowler and the NFL’s leader in interceptions since entering the league in 2016, while the former first-round pick Wilkins tied with Pittsburgh’s Cam Heyward to lead all defensive linemen in tackles last season.

Washington Commanders Brian Robinson on NFI list so he won’t try to rush back, coach Ron Rivera says

OXON HILL, Md. — The Washington Commanders removed any pressure on rookie running back Brian Robinson to return too soon by placing him on the reserve/non-football injury list Thursday.

Robinson will miss at least four games. If he is recovered after that time, he can play in Week 5. If not — and if doctors believe he’ll need several more weeks — then the Commanders could always place him on injured reserve.

Washington coach Ron Rivera said that after talking to doctors, the team determined placing him on the NFI list was “making sure it was about him recovering, not just physically but mentally.”

“Knowing who he is and what type of young man he is and wanting to get back as quickly as he could,” Rivera said, “doctors thought it would be a good decision.”

Robinson was shot twice Sunday evening in Washington, D.C. in what the police report described as an aggravated assault. He underwent surgery Monday and Rivera said Robinson suffered no structural damage. He visited the Commanders’ practice facility Tuesday, using crutches and with his right knee wrapped.

Robinson, a third-round pick in April, had emerged as Washington’s primary running back on early downs because of his consistency and power running between the tackles. The Commanders still have veterans Antonio Gibson, who rushed for 1,037 yards last season, and J.D. McKissic, their third-down back who has 123 catches in 27 games with Washington the past two years. Gibson can help in the pass game as well.

The Commanders also have versatile receiver Curtis Samuel, who can occasionally line up at running back in certain packages. Washington also kept Jonathan Williams as a third running back on the 53-man roster. At Washington’s Welcome Home Luncheon, co-owner Tanya Snyder told the audience that it was a “senseless attack.”

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“We were blessed to see him back in our facility just days after the incident,” Snyder said, “a testament to his courage, resilience and what he means to his teammates.”

Tennessee Titans signing WR Josh Gordon to practice squad

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Titans are signing veteran wide receiver Josh Gordon to their practice squad, agent Zac Hiller told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Thursday.

“The comeback continues,” Hiller told Schefter of his client, who worked out for the Titans on Wednesday.

Gordon, 31, was released by the Kansas City Chiefs on Tuesday as they trimmed to their initial 53-player roster. Gordon caught five passes for 32 yards and a touchdown in 12 games last year. But he was a healthy scratch for the Chiefs in all three of their playoff games.

The Cleveland Browns selected Gordon in the second round of the supplemental draft in 2012. He led the NFL in receiving in 2013 with 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns on 87 catches.

Since then, Gordon has been suspended by the NFL six times, five for some form of substance abuse, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. From 2014 to 2020, Gordon missed three full seasons while suspended.

In addition to the Chiefs and Browns, Gordon has played for the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks. In 75 games, he has 252 receptions for 4,284 yards and 21 touchdowns.

In another move, the Titans placed receiver Racey McMath (hip) on injured reserve and signed receiver Cody Hollister to the 53-man roster. Tennessee currently has five wide receivers on the roster.

Atlanta Falcons place LB Deion Jones, four others on injured reserve

The Atlanta Falcons placed linebacker Deion Jones on injured reserve Thursday, a little over a week after he returned to practice.

Following offseason shoulder surgery, Jones had been on the physically unable to perform list for most of training camp until Aug. 24, when he returned to practice ahead of the preseason finale against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Jones, a Pro Bowler in 2017, had been expected to compete for a reserve role this year behind starters Rashaan Evans and Mykal Walker. Jones had started 48 games over the past three seasons for Atlanta and has 652 career tackles since being drafted out of LSU in 2016.

He was one of five players — along with guard Jalen Mayfield, cornerback Isaiah Oliver, tight end John FitzPatrick and defensive end Marlon Davidson — placed on injured reserve by the Falcons, meaning they will miss at least the first four games.

The Falcons brought back defensive lineman Abdullah Anderson, linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski, offensive lineman Colby Gossett, cornerback Mike Ford and safety Dean Marlowe. Marlowe and Ford had been released Wednesday to make room for two waiver claims, defensive lineman Matt Dickerson and offensive tackle Chuma Edoga.

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