Welcome to a new series for this season: “Quarterback Changes – Helpful or Hurtful?”. I’ll be breaking down one quarterback per conference each week for the next three weeks to determine whether their addition to their new teams is helpful or hurtful and what their impact will be in their new homes.

Russell Wilson (QB – DEN)

Depending on which side of the ball you land, you were either excited about the Russell Wilson trade (Broncos fans) or extremely disappointed (Seattle fans).

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve likely heard about the blockbuster trade this offseason. The Denver Broncos acquired star quarterback Russell Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for a 2022 first-round pick, a 2023 first-round pick, a 2022 second-round pick, a 2023 second-round pick, a 2022 fifth-round pick, QB Drew Lock, TE Noah Fant and DT Shelby Harris. Oh, and the Broncos also received a 2022 fourth-round pick.

That’s a mouthful. 

Broncos Country was ablaze with excitement. Since 2016, there has been a merry-go-round of QBs in Denver – Brock Osweiler, Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, Case Keenum, Joe Flacco, Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater, to name a few. They all left a wake of talented receivers behind them. Receivers who haven’t had an opportunity to really shine.

Until now. Enter Russell Wilson and his cannon of a throwing arm. His receiving corps in Seattle was primarily made up of D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Slim pickings right there. 

Lockett ended the 2021 season with 1,175 receiving yards over 73 receptions and eight touchdowns, whereas Metcalf ended the 2021 season with 967 receiving yards over 75 receptions and 12 touchdowns.

Wilson rounded out the 2021 campaign with 3,113 passing yards and 25 touchdowns (special shout-out to backup QB Geno Smith, who had the remaining five TDs for Seattle in 2021 – all of which went to Metcalf).

If you just did the quick math, you can see that 15 of Wilson’s touchdowns went to Metcalf and Lockett. That’s 60%. 

Russell Wilson now enters a Denver offense with receivers Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, Albert Okwuegbunam and KJ Hamler. He can also rely on stud running backs Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams. With weapons like that, the sky is the limit for Wilson in Denver.

Additionally, new head coach Nathaniel Hackett will provide an opportunity for Wilson to air the ball out with his new receiving corps. Hackett comes to the Broncos after serving three years as the offensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers. With QB Aaron Rodgers under center for Green Bay, he and Hackett were able to lead the league in scoring in 2020, with Rodgers’ second highest competition percentage of his career (70.4%).

That’s the icing on the top for Wilson. With a career-high completion percentage of 68.8% in 2020, the sky is the limit for Russ in Denver. A new head coach who favors the passing game – check. Five offensive receivers instead of two – check. Two running backs instead of one – check. The Denver Broncos, who were believed to be just a QB away from being relevant in 2021, will be looking at a major upgrade and the team will finally come together as one

Baker Mayfield (QB – CAR)

This just in. Baker Mayfield was announced as the starting quarterback for the Carolina Panthers. While this might be shocking to some, it should come as no surprise that he’ll be suiting up as Carolina’s No. 1 guy.

Mayfield asked for a trade from the Cleveland Browns after a tumultuous season – and offseason – under center. Carolina spoke up, and the deal was done. Since the trade, there has been much debate as to whether Mayfield is an upgrade to incumbent QB Sam Darnold. Apparently, head coach Matt Rhule believes he is. 

During the offseason, there was speculation as to how Mayfield would fit into any NFL locker room. With his history of supposed immaturity and rumblings of a lack of leadership, there was concern about how he would fare in the locker room. Players like Robbie Anderson were outspoken about his concerns but has since changed his tune.

Early reports out of camp suggest that Mayfield has been a positive energy who is bringing new light to the team.

While we haven’t seen much out of Mayfield so far this preseason (four for seven on attempts for 45 yards), history shows that Mayfield brings far more to the field than Darnold did last year.

Over 14 games in 2021, Mayfield threw for 3,010 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions with a 60.5% completion percentage.

By comparison, over 12 games in 2021, Darnold threw for 2,527 yards, a mere nine touchdowns and a whopping 13 interceptions.

Granted, Mayfield had more offensive weapons with Jarvis Landry, Donovan Peoples-Jones, David Njoku, Austin Hooper, Harrison Bryant and Rashard Higgins as his major receivers compared to Darnold’s major receivers being D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson.

Looking ahead, Baker will have Christian McCaffrey, Moore, Anderson, Tommy Tremble and his former teammate Rashard Higgins.

Baker Mayfield could be the answer that the Panthers have been looking for. They ended the 2021 season 5-7, landing them at the bottom of the NFC South. What Baker brings to the team could launch them ahead in 2022. 

The Broncos and the Panthers will both benefit greatly from their new additions. Although time will tell, it’s looking like each team is on the winning side of their respective trades.