Broncos inform quarterback Russell Wilson he will be released

Wilson thanked the city of Denver in a lengthy statement, adding he was “excited for what’s next.” Notably, the quarterback did not mention either the Broncos GM or coach.

“Tough times don’t last,” Wilson wrote, in part, “but tough people do.”

As a result of parting ways with the highly paid signal-caller, Denver will eat $39 million but avoid a $37 million guaranteed trigger for the 2025 season that would have taken effect this month. Still, the Broncos will take on $85 million in total dead salary cap over the next two years by releasing Wilson, which will be the largest dead cap hit in NFL history.

The writing was on the wall for Wilson despite his recent protestations; just last week, he said on the I Am Athlete podcast that he hoped his future was in Denver.

With two weeks to go in the 2023 season and the Broncos not yet eliminated from playoff contention, Wilson was benched for Jarrett Stidham. The reasoning at the time was blatantly financial. Sitting Wilson with little to play for ensured that the QB didn’t suffer a significant injury and provided Denver financial flexibility to move on from Wilson and avoid paying out the massive ’25 guarantee.

As recently as last week, Payton was not publicly committed to moving on from Wilson. Finally, on Monday, the plan to excise Wilson from Denver’s future and rid the franchise of a doomed union came to fruition.

Wilson arrived in Denver via a blockbuster trade from Seattle in the 2022 offseason. The Broncos sent five draft picks, including two first-rounders, and three players to the Seahawks for the Super Bowl champion’s services and then inked him to a five-year, $242.6 million contract, minting him as the face of the franchise under Paton and new head coach Nathaniel Hackett.

The results were a disaster. Wilson had his worst season as a pro under Hackett, who was fired after a 4-11 start to his first season in Denver. When the veteran Payton was brought in to right the ship, Wilson improved but only marginally, leading to his benching and imminent departure.

All told, Wilson played 30 games under center for the Broncos, leading them to an 11-19 record, completing 63.3% of his passes for 6,594 yards and throwing 42 touchdowns to 19 interceptions. Denver boasted one of the worst offenses overall with Wilson at QB, scoring just 18.9 points per game (26th) and totaling 311.7 yards per game (27th) since 2022.

With Wilson’s impending departure, the Broncos will move forward for now with Stidham, Ben DiNucci and their five career starts at the quarterback position. Denver also owns the 12th overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, which could be used on a top QB prospect.

Wilson, 35, is entering his 13th season in the NFL. Despite his Denver doldrums, the nine-time Pro Bowler still boasts the second-highest passer rating in the Super Bowl era (100.0) and remains the only player in NFL history with at least 40,000 passing yards and 5,000 rushing yards.

As indicated by his most recent comments, Wilson still feels like he has something left to give in the pros. He just won’t be doing so in Denver.

First appeared on

Leave a Comment