A lot has unfolded since Seattle’s trade of Russell Wilson to Denver made headlines as a possibility. GM George Paton emphasized that they would’ve done anything to get Wilson, and their hard work paid off. As it turned out, Wilson wanted the Denver Broncos as badly as they wanted him — considering they were the only team he’d waive his no-trade clause to join, per The Seattle Times.
"We were going to do anything it took to get Russ."— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) March 17, 2022
Paton, Broncos swing big to acquire @DangeRussWilson, who eyes Lombardi-filled career in Denver » https://t.co/VQqoLYl6C2 pic.twitter.com/yhPezmHsd0
The March 16th presser was an official welcome of QB Russell Wilson. Paton spoke highly of the quarterback’s competitiveness and drive to win. Hackett was, to put it plainly, fanboying in the best way. There’s no doubt about how ecstatic they are to use Russell on this offense and put the Broncos back on the postseason map.
“I look at it as—somebody asked me when we were at the Combine what you look for in a quarterback,” Hackett recounted, shortly before describing his accuracy and deep throws, “I said, ‘Tough, smart, accurate, athletic’. Go into the dictionary, and you’ll see Russell Wilson there smiling with his big ole smile. That’s who he is.”
Hackett also reflected Paton’s sentiments of how hard the organization worked to acquire Wilson, saying, “It took everyone in this building.” He admitted that he was just as excited, if not more so, to meet the quarterback’s family and to see him as a dad. He’s ecstatic about having Russell’s whole person in Denver.
“In the end, it’s about competing at the highest level at all times,” Hackett later stated about their expectations for the upcoming season, “We want to win just like Russell said. That’s what we’re here for, is to win as many games as we possibly can...it’s about getting to the playoffs and having a chance to get into the dance.”
Hackett went on to share his vision of Russell’s place in the Broncos’ offense. “First and foremost, every single thing in this game is based on how the quarterback plays,” he said, noting that they’ll be drawing on Wilson’s strengths when building the offense around him, “One thing he does well is throwing the ball down the field.”
“I think that’s kind of the starting point is we want to be sure that we’re doing what’s right for this team and for what’s right for Russ,” he added.
Paton revealed that Hackett expressed his interest immediately when Wilson was brought up as a possibility. “I wanted him to watch the tape,” he said, ‘I don’t need to watch the tape, he’s kicked my [butt] for many years.”
Hackett explained. “When you go against him all the time, you live it, and you don’t like it. Looking at it again, I was like, ‘Oh, look at that play. Oh, look at him do that. OK, yes. What else?’ Pure joy and excitement—you name it, that’s what we felt.”
He also gave some insight on the process of obtaining Wilson as a member of the team, more specifically when he knew the deal was close to being sealed.
“I would say when we arrived at the combine, it was starting to get pretty serious between John (Schneider) and I, and we had a number of discussions at the combine,” Hackett stated, “That’s when we had to let in a few more people. We were still really cognizant. We didn’t want it to get out. You never know. If it gets out, it could blow up the deal.”
Hackett credits the Broncos organization and their inner circle with keeping the secret a secret until it was tangible enough to really get out in the open.
“I flew home that night on Sunday and sat in the office and thought how we could close the deal. I talked to John Schneider that night, and then the next morning, we closed the deal,” he said.
Now that the deal is not only closed but Wilson has been initiated and given his jersey, the true anticipation for our 2022 season begins. It’s so strange that a year ago the quarterback position was such a question hanging in the air. The wait feels well worth it with an answer like this.