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The Denver Broncos Release Quarterback Russell Wilson After Just Two Seasons

Credit: Rebecca Blackwell/AP


After just two seasons in Denver, the Broncos have announced in a shocking press release that they would be parting ways with the nine-time Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson, ending the 35-year-old’s two-year run in Orange and White. 


Wilson’s release comes after an extremely disappointing two-season stint for both sides. The Broncos went 11-19 in the Wilson era, over the course of two seasons, and failed to make the playoffs. The relationship between the Broncos, head coach Sean Payton and quarterback Russell Wilson became visibly tainted near the end of the 2023 season, as Payton benched Wilson for the final two games. Even though the Broncos were 6-9 up to that point and out of playoff contention, benching Wilson who was having a solid season stat-wise, was uncalled for. 


The Broncos signed Wilson to a five-year, $242.6 million contract in 2022, hoping that the Super Bowl XLVII champion could inject some life back into a struggling organisation that hasn’t seen the playoffs since 2015, the Peyton Manning era. They went all in to acquire Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks, sending over a total of five draft picks, including two first-rounders and three second-rounders, as well as three players. Broncos general manager George Paton was quoted stating that he believed Wilson could be their franchise player, however, Wilson failed to produce any of those franchise-esque moments with the pieces around him. 


With this release, the Broncos now take on $85 million in dead money over the next two seasons, the largest amount of dead cap since Matt Ryan who equated to $40.5 million in dead cap for the Falcons. Essentially, if his release is designated as a post-June first cut, the $85 million will consist of $35.4 million in 2024 and $49.6 million in 2025 before he’s finally off the books completely in 2026. 


Despite this release, Wilson is still a standout quarterback. He still has the ability to produce big moments and make a massive impact for some quarterback-needy franchises. With that in mind, what’s next for Wilson?


Russell Wilson Super Bowl Champion

Credit: Seahawks/Getty Images


Well, there are a few teams who desperately need a veteran quarterback like Wilson.


The Atlanta Falcons are a potential landing spot. The new Falcons head coach Raheem Morris made it clear at the combine that all avenues are open when it comes to finding their new quarterback, which makes Wilson an option. The Falcons offence has some nice pieces and playmakers on the board in Bijan Robinson, Kyle Pitts, Drake London and Tyler Allgeier, who will all be led by their new offensive coordinator, Zac Robinson. With some nice offensive playmakers, Russ could finally just be a distributor instead of having to will the whole team to victory by himself. 


The Pittsburgh Steelers are another potential spot for Wilson. The Steelers are sort of on the same page as the Falcons. They do not have a top pick in this year's draft, however, they do have the 20th pick. They could use this pick to pick up a rookie signal-caller, but they should instead go the veteran route. With Najee Harris, George Pickens and Diontae Johnson already posting impressive offensive numbers, all they need is a versatile, veteran quarterback, who could add some “oomph” to the offence and allow them a little more freedom on the offensive end. 


The Minnesota Vikings can be a good spot for Wilson. Of course, the Vikings likely want to keep Kirk Cousins. However, there’s a huge chance that he will be offered a way bigger sum of cash on the free agency market, as he is easily one of the top free agents. That would put the Vikings in the market for a quarterback, and with arguably the best wide receiver in Justin Jefferson on the team, Wilson and Jefferson could make for one of the deadliest duos in the league. The league saw what Lockett and Wilson were able to do together in Seattle. When Wilson finds a receiver he likes, it’s scary for defences. 


Finally, the Las Vegas Raiders, similar to the Steelers, the Raiders do not have a high enough draft pick to snag a generational quarterback in this year’s draft. With Jimmy Garappolo failing to perform, they could potentially go the Wilson route in free agency. With elite rushing talent in Josh Jacobs and one of the best receivers the league has ever seen in Davante Adams over in Vegas, Wilson would be able to rely on his teammates' offensive prowess instead of having to carry the team himself. A lot is up in the air in Vegas right now, but Wilson could settle the dust and turn the franchise back around.


Russell Wilson Practicing

Credit: Jack Dempsey/AP


It’s honestly a shame that the Broncos gave up on Wilson so quickly. Despite some past criticisms for Wilson’s influence on the locker room culture as well as his seemingly “fake” persona around his teammates, his outstanding football ability and competitive attitude should have made up for it. 


The guy is a nine-time Pro Bowler, a Super Bowl champion, 2019 second-team All-Pro, 2017 NFL touchdown leader and set career franchise records in Seattle with 75 total regular season wins and 196 touchdowns thrown. Based on those stats alone as well as the fact that he is only 35 years old, quite young for a quarterback who still has his throwing arm intact, he should easily be a starter on a contending playoff team in the NFL. 


However, he seemingly was just not the right guy for Denver. Wilson seems to be a little past the days when he could single-handedly will an entire team to victory. Denver pretty much had no offensive pieces to complement Wilson, which made it seem as if he was the problem. As Denver continues to rebuild, do not be surprised if they regret releasing Wilson in the coming years. 


Whatever happens to Wilson next, he deserves to be given his flowers. He’s had an outstanding career and deserved to be hailed as one of the greats.



Edited By: Josh Reidelbach


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