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Even in the offseason, the NFL dazzles with big quarterback news

Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks passes against the Detroit Lions during the third quarter at Lumen Field in January in Seattle, Wash.
Steph Chambers
Getty Images
Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks passes against the Detroit Lions during the third quarter at Lumen Field in January in Seattle, Wash.

It's the NFL offseason, but the league still made big news Tuesday.

One Super Bowl-winning quarterback appears to be switching teams. Another former NFL champion is staying put after much speculation that he'd leave.

According to multiple reports, longtime Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is becoming a Denver Bronco. The trade instantly elevates the Broncos post-season chances. It reportedly sends five Denver draft picks and three Broncos players to Seattle, including starting quarterback Drew Lock.

Football experts have been saying in recent years that Denver is a great quarterback away from contending for a title. Russell Wilson certainly fits that great quarterback description, with nine Pro Bowl appearances and a Super Bowl title in 2014. In that championship game, the Seahawks ironically thumped the Denver Broncos, 43-8.

Wilson has a no-trade clause in his Seattle contract, so the deal with Denver isn't final until he waives that clause. It's expected he will, ending a 10 year run in Seattle, and making Tuesday "a day that hundreds of thousands of Seahawks fans will remember forever," as a Seattle Times sports columnist wrote.

Denver had been in the running for Green Bay's star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who's status this offseason had been uncertain — until Tuesday, a few hours before news leaked out about the Wilson trade.

The Packers announced a deal that would keep Rodgers in Green Bay. Initially, reports said he signed a contract extension worth a whopping $200 million over four years – a figure that would make him the highest paid NFL player in history. But the outspoken Rodgers was quick to speak out, saying in a tweet that yes, he was remaining a Packer, but that the reports about him signing a contract, and the reported terms of the contract, were inaccurate.

Rodgers said he's very excited to be back for his eighteenth year. So is Green Bay, after a year of uncertainty and some acrimony, with the four-time league Most Valuable Player voicing frustration about not being more involved in the direction of the team, and raising the possibility he might leave to play elsewhere.

For now, Rodgers' return is a promising ending after last season's disappointing early playoff exit, and the controversy surrounding Rodger's comments related to COVID-19 and his decision not to get vaccinated.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Tom Goldman is NPR's sports correspondent. His reports can be heard throughout NPR's news programming, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and on NPR.org.