The situation between the Denver Broncos and Russell Wilson is getting out of hand. Multiple reports indicate that the Broncos have -- for nearly two months -- been trying to get Russell Wilson to adjust his contract or else he would be deactivated.
According to Dianna Russini of The Athletic, this move has been percolating for a while and she's reporting now that Russell Wilson is "expecting to be cut" by the Broncos in March. She states that he's been playing for the last two months knowing he was most likely going to be let go in 2024.
Jordan Schultz of Bleacher Report even went so far as to say that the Broncos "threatened" to bench Wilson if he didn't adjust his contract with the injury guarantee triggering $37 million for 2025.
There is probably some truth to these reports here, but there are always two sides to every story. These reports are very much leaning into the Russell Wilson camp and pushing the narrative that his agent likely wants out there, and we know this based on the fact that Jordan Schultz has always been heavily connected to Russell Wilson's camp.
He was the one who reported on Russell Wilson's list of preferred trade candidates, which included the Denver Broncos and the New Orleans Saints.
Schultz's report has been corroborated by Troy Renck, a Denver-based Broncos beat reporter. Where there's smoke, there's fire, right? So, even if this is being pushed from Russ's camp, this narrative is getting reported by a variety of outlets.
Which isn't surprising at all. The financial side of this has to be part of the motivation, although I don't think that means head coach Sean Payton is lying when he says this is to get a "spark" for the offense and that it's a football move. The financial ramifications of Russell Wilson getting injured with two games remaining this season are major. It's a $37 million risk.
Anyone who thinks the financial side of this is not a factor is simply wrong. We've been talking about it for a long time on this site, and you can read any number of posts as evidence. Here's one from December 5. The simple fact of the matter is this -- Russell Wilson wasn't playing well enough this season to warrant being paid $37 million in 2025. The Broncos needed to maintain as much flexibility as possible, and I personally think they could have made this move sooner. It's possible this move is past due.
For those who think that Sean Payton is lying about this being a football move, I think you can go back three weeks ago after the team's loss to the Houston Texans and listen to Sean Payton's Monday press conference as clear evidence of his frustration with the offense, and specifically with Russell Wilson (even without Payton mentioning his name).
Where is this getting out of hand?
Go ahead and check out Russell Wilson's "liked" Tweets right now.
Among the Tweets that Russell Wilson has "liked" from his own account include this one here:
This Tweet details a "major dispute" between the Broncos and Russell Wilson that shocked him, and specifically lays out a timeline of two days after the Kansas City Chiefs game as Russell Wilson being approached by the Broncos about adjusting the injury clause in his deal. This report also says that the threat from the Broncos was that Wilson would be made "inactive" if he didn't agree to adjusting the deal, and that hasn't proven to be the case.
Wilson will be Jarrett Stidham's backup this weekend against the Los Angeles Chargers.
There are obviously going to be people cherry-picking stats one way or the other to support a narrative. The fact of the matter is that the Broncos' passing game hasn't been good enough. Ted Nguyen, a writer for The Athletic, summed the situation up pretty perfectly:
"So many people are making it out like the Broncos are punishing Russ but it seemed like good organizational practice to me. They were realistic with where Russ is despite the stats and wins.- Ted Nguyen on Twitter
They squeezed out as much as they could from him in a very confined environment. They knew that style wasn’t sustainable and they have to move on to move forward. If he gets hurt, they owe him $35m more next season.
They wanted to move on but opened up the possibility of bringing in back if he agreed to their terms. He made the right decision for himself not to accept.
Whoever signs him next season will have to heavily adapt their offense for a QB that will be 36 that relies on out-of-structure play that never has been able to play consistently in-structure."
And that is the reality of the situation. Nobody (except maybe some Seattle fans) wanted Russell Wilson to fail in Denver. Everyone wanted this to be a huge success and see the Broncos return to glory. Unfortunately, things are what they are. And both the Broncos and Russell Wilson appear to be moving forward, and things seem to be getting a little ugly.
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