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Does the Russell Wilson trade make the Denver Broncos contenders?

Does the Broncos trade for Russell Wilson help make them immediate Super Bowl contenders? If they can hold their own in football's toughest division, it could.

DENVER — Tuesday marked a massive day in NFL offseason news as Aaron Rodgers announced his decision to remain in Green Bay only to be overshadowed by news that came later in the day when the Denver Broncos traded for long-time Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

The Broncos were clearly set on making a massive move at quarterback prior to next season. It was reported that it was between the Packers and Broncos (and retirement) for Aaron Rodgers. Just after the news dropped that Rodgers would return, the Broncos and Seahawks made a massive deal sending Wilson to Denver.

Denver sent tight end Noah Fant, backup quarterback Drew Lock, defensive tackle Shelby Harris, two first round picks including this year's No. 9 overall pick, two second round picks, and a fifth round pick. The Seahawks also received a fourth round pick in the trade.

Locked On Broncos podcast host Cody Roark jumped on the Locked On Today podcast Wednesday morning to break down the blockbuster deal and what it means for Denver.

"There's some people saying the Broncos gave up too much, but what were you expecting? To get a franchise quarterback...there's so many teams out there that would love to be in a position to be able to trade for a guy like Russell Wilson," Roark said on Locked On Today. "Russell Wilson changes everything in the AFC, he changes everything in the AFC West in that division."

The NFC West last season was widely seen as one of the NFL's toughest divisions between the Rams, 49ers, Cardinals and Seahawks. Now, with Wilson flipping from the NFC West to the AFC West, it's that division that becomes the toughest in football between the Chiefs, Chargers, Raiders and Broncos, who will all be playoff contenders in 2022.

"Some are making the argument that Denver has the third best quarterback in the division, it doesn't matter, these quarterbacks don't play each other, they play defenses," Roark said on Locked On Today. "The Chargers defense was very subpar last season, the Chiefs defense may lose Tyrann Mathieu...and then the Raiders a new regime under Josh McDaniels and a young defense. Russell Wilson gets to go against those defenses."

Roark added that the Broncos additionally probably have the best defense in the AFC West now as well.

So where do the Broncos rank in terms of AFC contenders? Vegas oddsmakers boosted Denver's Super Bowl odds up after the trade to put them only behind the Bills, Chiefs, Packers and 49ers as Super Bowl favorites. But, they're going to have to get out of a tough division first. Is it win-now time for Denver?

"I think it's wide open at this point, at least on paper," Roark said. "We're going to have to see how the regular season gauntlet plays out but the AFC is going to be the wild, wild west, so football fans are going to need to buckle up." 

It's easy to draw some parallels from the Broncos to the Los Angeles Rams from last offseason, who gave up their quarterback Jared Goff and a handful of picks to get Matthew Stafford from Detroit. He was considered the third-best quarterback in the NFC West going into the year and the Rams ended up winning the Super Bowl. Is a similar line of success possible for Denver? Stay tuned.

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