It has been a MONTH for the Broncos and Russell Wilson. Exactly 31 days ago, on December 16th, the Broncos were heading into Detroit for their biggest game of the season. They were 7-1 in their last eight, born again and fighting for their playoff lives after a 1-5 start to the season had everyone booking their January vacations early. But a Saturday night, nationally-televised games against one of the NFC's elite team seemed like the perfect opportunity to prove, once and for all, that the Sean Payton-Wilson combo could work, and that the Broncos were contenders in an AFC West that seemingly no one wanted to run away with.
If you're even reading the second paragraph about Russell Wilson on a Broncos blog, you know what happened next. They got boat-raced in Detroit, 42-17, and followed that up with two losses in their last three games, missing the playoffs entirely. In the middle of that final month, a report surfaced that during the team's bye week, Wilson was asked to waive his injury guarantees or risk being benched. When asked about the report's accuracy, Wilson was pretty straightforward about confirming the details, setting off an incredibly awkward final couple weeks. After two tough years, his time in Denver is over, and according to one of ESPN's NFL Insiders, Wilson's upcoming free agency offers him the chance to get one last laugh. In a recent article written by Jeremy Fowler, the reporter speculates that Wilson could stick Denver with quite a hefty bill:
"Here's a scenario that many teams have pondered: Once he's presumably released before the fifth day of the new league year, Wilson could sign somewhere for the veteran minimum, effectively sticking Denver with all but $1 million of a $39 million bill of guarantees baked into 2024. Perhaps interest from several teams or the chance at a multiyear deal changes the equation, but the $39 million is offset against what he signs for with a new club."- ESPN NFL Insider Jeremy Fowler
It'd certainly be hard to blame Wilson for pulling that move, given how everything went down this season. Fowler lists some ways that the team could mitigate the impending cap disaster, but lists some interesting quotes from executives around the NFL that doubt how willing Wilson would be to help out. It's one of the few times in life that being petty could actually be a financially savvy thing to do. Let Russ cook!