By CJ Carlson
Russell Wilson was supposed to be the longtime face of the Denver Broncos, but that’s all but over now. Denver is coming into this week with just a five percent chance to make the playoffs, and the team has since decided to bench Wilson for the final two games. Part of it could be due to results/performance, and part of it is for financial reasons. Regardless, it feels like the Wilson ride is over.
Denver had lost three of their last four games, including a disappointing loss to the New England Patriots this past weekend. Adam Schefter said that head coach Sean Payton is hoping to spark the offense by placing Jarrett Stidham under center. However, it certainly feels like finances play a larger role. See, he’s got ridiculous injury guarantees in the contract that he signed.
He’s guaranteed $39 million in 2024, and the $37 million salary for 2025 gets guaranteed if he remains on the roster until March 17th. It also gets locked into place if Wilson suffers an injury of any kind which forces him to fail a physical. So, if the Broncos bench Wilson, he doesn’t get injured, and the contract doesn’t get locked into place for 2025.
Wilson not getting injured down the stretch allow for them to possibly cut ties with him completely in a couple of months. Now, they’d have to take a large financial hit whether they cut him or keep him, and that’s a conversation for another day. For now, the main conversation is surrounding the inability to make the Payton and Wilson tandem work.
With this experience nearing an end, we should take a look back at the trade that saw him head to Denver. The Broncos took on $124 million in salary to add him and gave up numerous roster assets to make it happen. Among those assets were Noah Fant, Drew Lock, and Shelby Harris.
Among the draft picks that were sent to Seattle turned into players like Charles Cross, Boye Mafe, Tyreke Smith, Devon Witherspoon, and Derick Hall. The Seahawks made the playoffs last year and are in position to do so again, while the Broncos are 11-19 with Wilson on the team.
There is a genuine possibility that this trade could be one of the worst to ever have happened in the league for a long time. Denver will never hear the end of this one.