May 19, 2024

Broncos to Release Russell Wilson, Incur $85M Dead Money Hit The Denver Broncos have made the decision to part ways with nine-time Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson, marking the end of a turbulent two-year stint with the team.

Coach Sean Payton and general manager George Paton jointly announced the decision, stating that they had informed Wilson of his release effective at the start of the league year on March 13th. They expressed gratitude for Wilson’s contributions to the team and community, while emphasizing their focus on building a strong roster for the upcoming season and beyond.

Russell Wilson contract, explained: Why veteran QB may sign for league  minimum after Broncos release | Sporting News

Wilson, in turn, issued a statement thanking the city of Denver, teammates, and other individuals within the organization. Despite expressing appreciation for his time with the Broncos, he notably omitted mentioning Payton, Paton, or the team’s ownership.

The release concludes a disappointing period for both Wilson and the Broncos, with the team posting an 11-19 record in his starts over two seasons and failing to reach the playoffs. The decision to bench Wilson in the final two games of the 2023 season effectively signaled the end of his tenure in Denver.

Denver signed Wilson to a lucrative five-year deal upon his arrival, resulting in an $85 million dead money hit over the next two seasons due to his release. The team will need to determine whether to absorb the majority of this financial impact in the 2024 or 2025 season.

The acquisition of Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks two years ago was considered a significant move for the Broncos, who traded multiple draft picks and players to secure his services. However, the expected franchise quarterback moments failed to materialize, despite Wilson playing under three different head coaches during his time in Denver.

Wilson, now 35, enters the free agent market with potential suitors such as the Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers expressing interest. His priority remains on winning, expressing a desire to secure two Super Bowl victories in the next two years.

The decision to part ways likely stemmed from discussions during the 2023 season regarding financial adjustments to Wilson’s contract, including a $37 million injury guarantee. While the Broncos maintain that these discussions were conducted in good faith, they ultimately led to Wilson’s benching and subsequent release.

Moving forward, the Broncos face the challenge of finding a long-term solution at quarterback, with Payton emphasizing the necessity of addressing this issue promptly. Despite initial optimism surrounding Wilson’s arrival, the team’s on-field performance failed to meet expectations, culminating in his departure from Denver.

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