Broncos to release QB Russell Wilson

The team announced the decision Monday afternoon. His release will be effective March 13, at the start of the NFL’s new league year.
Chargers Broncos Football
Posted at 2:59 PM, Mar 04, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-04 19:26:29-05

DENVER — The Denver Broncos will release quarterback Russell Wilson next week, ending a months-long purgatory surrounding Wilson’s future that followed his late-season benching.

The team announced the decision Monday afternoon. His release will be effective March 13, at the start of the NFL’s new league year.

“We thank Russell for his contributions and dedication to our team and community while wishing him the best as he continues his career,” read a statement from Broncos GM George Paton and head coach Sean Payton. “As we move forward, we are focused on building the strongest team possible for the 2024 season and beyond. We are excited to improve this offseason and will have the flexibility to get better through the draft and free agency.”

Wilson logged a dismal 11-18 record over two seasons as the Broncos’ starter, despite a rebound in 2023 that saw him throw for 26 touchdowns and just eight interceptions in 15 games.

He was benched for the final two games of the 2023-24 season in a likely attempt by the club to preserve the right they exercised on Monday. Wilson later claimed the Broncos threatened to bench him earlier in the season if he didn’t remove an injury guarantee in his massive $242.5 million contract.

The NFL Players Association got involved in the dispute. The Broncos have insisted they went through the proper channels with Wilson.

With Wilson moving on, these are his most likely landing spots:

The Broncos will likely cut Russell Wilson. Where could he go next?

The Broncos will take an $85 million salary cap hit by releasing Wilson, who was owed $165 million in guaranteed money. They’re likely to absorb that penalty over the next two seasons – $35.4 million in 2024 and $49.6 million in 2025.

The financial implications of the move may be easier to stomach after last week's news that the NFL is increasing its salary cap by $30 million next season. Payton addressed the team's quarterback situation at the scouting combine last week.

“We better (get the decision right)," he said. Finding the right solution at quarterback in this league, which is obviously very competitive, and in our division, I think it’s vital."

He referenced a fan meme making light of the long list of unsuccessful starting quarterbacks since Peyton Manning to make his case.

Wilson, who a week ago spoke on a podcast about staying in Denver and his goal of winning two Super Bowls with the Broncos, released a statement of his own after Monday’s news broke.

“This city will always hold a special place in my heart,” the statement read. “Our family grew here, we made countless memories and friendships, and formed relationships that will last a lifetime.”

The statement went on to issue specific thanks to several teammates as well as team employees including the cafeteria workers.

This story will be updated.