Are the Denver Broncos already laying framework for Russell Wilson's departure?
Even though Russell Wilson is only entering his second season as the Denver Broncos' quarterback, is the team laying the framework for his departure? An obvious answer might be yes, as the Broncos could move off of Wilson at the end of the 2023 season, however they'd have to eat $35 million worth of dead money.
They also wouldn't save anything on their cap number next year, so it's a poor finanancial decision but one that is possible to digest, kind of like *almost* maxing out your credit card. It's a dumb decision, but you can work your way through that mistake.
So, I'll ask again, are the Broncos preparing for his departure already?
One way we could argue yes are the free agency moves the team made. The team bolstered their offensive line with addtions of Ben Powers and Mike McGlinchey, being given four and five year contracts. They also signed a true blocking tight end in Chris Manhertz.
With center being a need, I'd also be shocked if Denver didn't come away with a new center this offseason, whether that's a draft pick, Connor McGovern, or another option.
Secondly, the team doesn't appear to be moving either Jerry Jeudy or Courtland Sutton this offseason. Sean Payton and George Paton have both spoken about the receivers' situations, and neither seems that willing to move them.
Continuing on, the team did sign Marquez Callaway at receiver as well, who had a very solid 2021 season playing for Sean Payton in New Orleans. While it's impossible to predict the future, I think it's comfortably reasonable to suggest that Denver will somehow add to their skill players as well.
I'd expect additions at running back and tight end, at least.
Another huge move to make note of is the team signing Jarrett Stidham as the backup quarterback. Sean Payton was very complimentary of Jarrett Stidham as well:
"I think he's young, but I think he's someone that we had a good grade on coming out," Payton said of Stidham. "We like the player. I think he played well in the two starts he had (last season) -- if you study closely the San Francisco game, he's smart at the line of scrimmage. There were a couple directions, really, with that position. There were a handful of No. 2s that either I had worked with or we felt comfortable with, but in this case, I think it's a No. 2 (where) his arrow's moving in a direction where we feel like he can become an NFL starter in our league. So the evaluation was pretty crystal clear for all of us," Payton continued. "I think he's someone that's gonna be great in the room. He's smart. And so, quietly, that was an important (signing) for us."- Sean Payton
The comments are Stidham are very revealing to me, and do indirectly show a lack of true commitment to Russell Wilson. So, let me pose a scenario here that could possibly happen:
Russell Wilson improves in 2023, but isn't anything special. Denver limps to 8 or 9 wins, misses the playoffs, and moves off of Russell Wilson. Enter, Jarrett Stidham, or another quarterback of Sean Payton's choosing. Well, what kind of offense will he be going into?
He'd be entering an offense with a solid core of skill players that could include Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick, Javonte Williams, Greg Dulcich, Samaje Perine, and perhaps some 2023 draft picks as well.
You see, Sean Payton did not take this job to endure some rebuilding years. I think their free agency additions can be seen as more than just trying to make it work with Russell Wilson this year. What if the true meaning is them wanting to reset at the QB spot in 2024 while at the same time surrounding that new QB with competent weapons and a solid offensive line?
I also think we can take the team's free agency additions in the complete opposite direction as well to say that they are indeed trying to make this thing work with Russell Wilson, but even if Wilson wasn't in the picture and it was a different QB, perhaps a younger one, the Broncos would still need to add to their offensive line at all three of their spots.