Broncos fans feeling the consequences of Russell Wilson's ugly contract

The Denver Broncos have not done what many fans expected them to do in free agency thus far.

Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders
Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders / Candice Ward/GettyImages

The 2024 NFL league year becomes official on Wednesday at 2:00 pm MT and negotiations are well underway in free agency with teams coming to terms with players and throwing millions of dollars around. Meanwhile, the Denver Broncos have been extremely quiet.

"What the heck are we doing"?

How many times have Broncos fans asked themselves that question since Monday morning? Much more was expected for a team looking to get back into contention or at the very least, much more was hoped for.

On Monday, the only external deal the Broncos made was to sign former Miami Dolphins safety Brandon Jones. While Jones offers a lot of upside, it was the breaking news fans were hoping for.

The team also decided to bring back kicker Wil Lutz, though it was reported for a short period of time that he was leaving for Jacksonville.

Tuesday may have been even more difficult for Broncos fans, though things started out promising when it was reported that the team had created even more salary cap space by restructuring the deals of Zach Allen and Ben Powers.

A big move had to be in the works, right?

Instead, the only move the team made on Tuesday was agreeing to terms with defensive lineman Malcolm Roach. Though he's unknown by many NFL fans, he could be a great addition due to his ability to stop the run, a perfect low-cost move.

And that's what this free-agent period is starting to look like for the Broncos. The team is sitting back and watching other teams around them make huge moves. This is what happens when you have a contract that forces you to digest $85 million in dead money, such as the one with Russell Wilson.

The Broncos have to show patience. They have to show a sound, calculated approach to avoid making another major mistake, one that could set the team back even further.

Russell Wilson's contract has devastated the Denver Broncos

There was a reason that the dead-money hit staring at the Broncos all offseason was so talked about. That is why getting rid of Russell Wilson was not the slam dunk some made it out to be. Yes, he's gone. He can do no more damage to the team on the football field, but the after-effects of that poor deal will reverberate around the franchise for some time to come.

That is why Kirk Cousins signed with the Atlanta Falcons. That is why Christian Wilkins chose the Las Vegas Raiders and that is why Danielle Hunter went to the Houston Texans and that is why Jonathan Greenard went to the Minnesota Vikings, just as Sam Darnold did.

The Broncos are not an attractive free-agent destination as things currently stand. They are not a team in a position to be handing out deals like candy like they are in Washington and Jacksonville.

It's never fun to see your team sit back and do nothing while most of the other 31 teams are wheeling and dealing to improve their rosters. But the consequences of signing a player to such a bad deal are far-reaching and go well beyond just some lost money.

So the moves you see the Broncos make are largely going to be boring. They may bring back some of their own players who they would have otherwise moved on from, such as Adam Trautman and Jonas Griffith.

The Broncos have to fight their way back. But it's going to be a slow fight, one in which they take some more lumps. But this is the right way to get back to prominence... perhaps the only way.