Broncos QB Russell Wilson said a large number of his teammates showed up to his surprise birthday party, dismissing the rumors he’s lost confidence within the locker room.
“It was a great time,’’ Wilson said, via 9 News. “To see the surprise – I don’t get surprised easily so…a bunch of guys came. It was a blast, just to celebrate with the guys. Had a great day of work here, a bunch of guys came in [on Tuesday day off] and Ci said, “I’m going to do a family dinner.” OK, that’s good.’ So we got out to dinner and the next thing I know, a whole bunch of guys just go, ‘Surprise!’ Got me. That was cool. Chopped it up, had a great time.’’
Wilson said he has great relationships within the locker room and won’t let the outside distractions tear it down.
“I’ve got great relationships in that locker room. So whoever’s trying to tear it down, you can’t. It’s been an amazing journey coming here, moving here, being here, guys like Courtland Sutton, guys like Justin Simmons, guys like Dalton Risner. This is a great team,” Wilson said. “I’m honored to be here. I’m honored to play with this team and these guys. There’s always noise. Especially when things aren’t going the way you want it to all the time. You don’t bat an eye. My biggest goal every day is to continue to lead at the highest level and to be consistent every day with my approach.”
Broncos RB Latavius Murray said he has a great relationship with Wilson and has even more respect for him after having to deal with a down season.
“We’ve got a great relationship,’’ Murray said. “This is my first time playing with him. Got a lot of respect for him. Probably even more respect with all he’s had to go through this year. For us in the locker room, it is noise. We’re here every day. We see the work that’s been put in. And it’s regardless of the results. Some people are going to have something to say no matter what. But obviously us having the expectations that we had, there’s going to be more talk. But he hasn’t lost the locker room by any means. Still has a lot of respect and I still believe in him as a player and as our leader.”
When the Chargers traded for OLB Khalil Mack this offseason, they envisioned the duo of him and OLB Joey Bosa wrecking opposing offenses. That didn’t pan out largely because Bosa has missed most of the season due to a groin injury. Mack has been solid with seven sacks but there was a reason the Bears couldn’t get a first-round pick for him.
“He can still play, but he’s not the guy who can be on an island all of the time,” an NFC executive said via ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. “That trade looks a lot better if Bosa doesn’t get hurt, because good edge rushers opposite a dominant guy are hard to find and when they are playing off each other can look like their old self. Now, you could argue that Mack is still worth the trade because, without Bosa, they need pedigree, and Mack provides that.”
- Fowler points out that Mack will have a $27.4 million cap hit in 2023 and the Chargers can save $18.4 million of that by releasing him. However, he adds it’s doubtful Los Angeles did the deal for just one season with Mack. The Chargers could look to extend or restructure the 32-year-old Mack as alternatives to releasing him.
- PFF’s Doug Kyed talked to league sources about the free agent market for Raiders RB Josh Jacobs, who has improved his standing tremendously with a breakout 2022 season.
- One league source told Kyed the transition tag would make a lot of sense for the Raiders to use on Jacobs. It would be a little over $10 million fully guaranteed and give Las Vegas the right of first refusal if another team were to sign Jacobs to an offer sheet.
- The franchise tag is projected to be $12.6 million, which is right around what the top backs are making in recent years. However, Kyed points out all of those players signed extensions with their original teams and backs in free agency have been closer to the $6-$8 million a year range.
- The Athletic’s Jeff Howe writes that if Buccaneers QB Tom Brady decides to play another season in 2023 and if he decides his best bet is to play somewhere besides Tampa Bay, the Raiders make a lot of sense as a potential landing spot.
- Howe notes nobody knows Raiders HC Josh McDaniels‘ offense like Brady, so there would be a lot of familiarity. However, he adds Las Vegas would have to demonstrably improve their offensive line and defense to become a contender, even with Brady.
- As for incumbent starting QB Derek Carr, Howe says the Raiders will have options. They could keep him as he hasn’t played that poorly and should be better with more time in the system. If they have the chance to upgrade via the draft or by bringing in a vet who knows McDaniels’ offense, however, Carr should fetch a strong return in a trade.
- When asked whether TE Darren Waller and WR Hunter Renfrow could return from injured reserve in time for Week 14’s Thursday night game, McDaniels responded the short window from Sunday’s game may be a disadvantage for them. (Paul Gutierrez)