How Russell Wilson to the Broncos Impacts the Patriots

The NFL is a league that simply never sleeps. Even during the lull period of March, the NFL still is able to break headlines and dominate the news cycle. This happened Tuesday when long time Seattle Seahawks’ star Russell Wilson is headed to the Mile High City. In one of the most shocking moves in recent NFL history, the Denver Broncos finally got a quarterback.

This is a trade that sends shockwaves throughout the NFL, and in particular the AFC. The Broncos become an immediate Super Bowl contender, and a really strong one at that. Say what you want about Wilson, but at his best he’s a top five QB in this league. Combine that with a solid offensive line, strong young receiving corps, a stud running back, and a nasty defense, you have yourself a Super Bowl winning recipe.

Wilson joining the Broncos creates even more clutter in the AFC title race, which has a direct impact on the New England Patriots. Life as a Patriots fan just got a little bit tougher moving forward. The chase for an 8th Lombardi trophy will not be easy…at all.

Before this trade, the AFC was already crowded with elite teams and talent. The conference was already home to the Bengals, Bills, Chiefs, Titans, Chargers, and Colts, along with New England of course. That already was looking like a gauntlet to go through, and now you can throw the Broncos on that list. I’d say Denver is in that top tier with Kansas City, Buffalo, and Cincinnati. That’s the class that New England needs to get to in order to compete for a Super Bowl.

Getting there will be rather difficult. Don’t get me wrong, New England showed last season that they are capable of at least reaching the playoffs. That’s half the battle. They also showed however that they are still a little ways away from getting back to true contender status. If you don’t believe me, go checkout the tape from the Bills-Patriots Wild Card game.

The Wilson trade puts New England in an awkward position. I believe they can definitely get back to the playoffs next season, but they are definitely not in that top class. It’s going to take some serious work to get there. Why this is awkward is because in order for New England to get anywhere close to that top tier, they have to enter the offseason with an “all in” mentality. Even then it may not be enough to overcome the likes of that top class, which just got even stronger with the rise of Denver.

The question then becomes, is it even worth it for New England to go all in? For me, you go all in (like Denver just did), when you know you’re close to contention and all you’re missing is a piece or two. New England unfortunately needs a number of things to get there, and I am just not sure if mortgaging the future is worth it.

New England is now stuck in this state of being a team trying to compete in the AFC, in an arms race with teams like Denver, but at the same time having an eye towards the future with their young QB. This team is good, but not that good. Getting that good will not be easy and may not even be attainable at this time.

Getting past Kansas City, Buffalo, and Cincinnati was going to be challenging. Now having to get past Denver as well just makes this contending thing that much harder. We will see in the coming weeks how New England will respond to the growing threats in the AFC. If they truly believe they can contend right now, going after a player like say Amari Cooper might be a necessity.

Photo by Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

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