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Russell Wilson turns 34 today

Mike Florio says it would be "beyond stunning" if the Broncos fired Nathaniel Hackett during the season, but he also "can't see him being back for 2023" either.

It would be fair to say that the career of Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson is at a crossroads. Yes, the new contract he signed in late August gives him significant financial security, and it forces the Broncos to try to make it work for a few more years. Even then, it’s unclear where it goes from here for a guy who won a Super Bowl in his second NFL season, and got to a second one in his third.

Today, Wilson turns 34. (Happy birthday.) He has said repeatedly that he wants to play until he’s 45. Before this year, it wasn’t a crazy proposition. Now, some are wondering whether he’ll be playing when he turns 35.

It’s an unraveling that surely will spawn various think pieces and #longreads and maybe even a book or two. (And, undoubtedly, a chapter in Playmakers II. Buy Playmakers I now and get a free signed, personalized bookplate, by the way.)

Has Wilson suddenly lost his ability to play at a high level? Are the Broncos failing to use him the right way? Were the Seahawks simply crafting the best possible offense to maximize his skills, and to minimize his flaws? Was the trade that sent Wilson to Denver one of the great football grifts of all time?

And why would Wilson, if he had any inkling that Pete Carroll was propping him up, want to go somewhere else and allow everyone to figure out that he’s not capable of being a franchise quarterback through whom an offense runs?

It’s likely a combination of factors, exacerbated by the fact that Wilson has lost some of his mobility. And maybe he has lost just enough faith in his mobility to make him just a little too tentative.

Regardless, Wilson has slid from the top 10 of the league’s quarterbacks. Actually, he’s no longer in the top half. He’s arguably not even in the top 20.

The Broncos will have every reason to try to get him back into the top 20, the top half, and ideally the top 10. It going to require major changes, probably including a new head coach. Someone with a plan to get the most out of Wilson, and with the confidence that he can do it.