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The Denver Broncos Do Not Believe In Russell Wilson

Russell Wilson

Scott Logush

Editor-in-Chief

Earlier today, it was reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport that the Denver Broncos would be benching quarterback Russell Wilson for the final two games of their season due to financial reasons. This is being done to avoid triggering injury-guaranteed salary in the 2025 season, and allowing Denver the option of moving on from Wilson this offseason which will likely happen.

This $37 million of Wilson’s 2025 salary becomes fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the 2024 league year, an example of a method of rolling guarantees that has become a common practice in contract structure. The move to bench Wilson is to ensure he is able to pass a physical, so Denver can either trade him or most likely cut him. If they were to trade him, the timeline of the injury guarantee becoming fully guaranteed would not matter as much. This is very similar to when the Raiders benched Derek Carr late in a season to give them offseason flexibility, even down to the quarterback they are being benched for.

One thing needs to be made clear, Wilson is not being benched for performance reasons. Of their last nine games, the Denver Broncos have a 6-3 record, including victories over the Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, and Cleveland Browns. During that stretch, Wilson has 14 passing touchdowns and just four interceptions, although three came in a single game against the Houston Texans. If you want some deeper numbers, Wilson has 17 big time throws and just six turnover worthy plays in the same stretch.

So Wilson is playing well, significantly better than he did last year, and the Broncos want to get rid of him in the offseason. They are still in the playoff hunt, and Wilson has seemingly turned a corner and greatly improved his play. Clearly, despite all this, Denver does not believe in him at all and would rather eat $85 million in dead cap for releasing Wilson.

Derek Carr’s play in 2022 was significantly worse than Wilson’s is now, and the Raiders did not have to eat anywhere close to the amount of dead cap to cut Carr. The Wilson move is Denver making a bet that the repair is capped out and will not move forward. Jarrett Stidham, in back-to-back seasons, is replacing an AFC West starter who is getting benched due to financial reasons.

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