It looks like the 2024 NFL free agent class could include Russell Wilson.
In the approaching 2024 NFL free agent assembly, there emerges the prospect of Russell Wilson being part of the ensemble.
According to insights from The Athletic’s Dianna Russini, the anticipation is that Wilson will encounter a severance from the Denver Broncos come March. The decision to part ways has been in the air for nearly two months, a realization that Wilson himself has been privy to regarding the franchise’s probable move post this season.
Russini’s revelation unfolded mere hours subsequent to the Broncos opting to sideline Wilson, favoring backup Jarrett Stidham. With a current record of 7-8 and a recent slide, losing three of the last four games, the Broncos face a mere 8% probability of clinching a playoff spot with two weeks left in the regular season, as per NFL.com.
The 35-year-old Wilson is bound by a guaranteed sum of $39 million for the upcoming season, coupled with an additional obligation of $37 million in injury guarantees for 2025, provided he remains on the roster beyond March 17, 2024. The intricacy arises from the fact that, owing to the inability to release injured players, the Broncos would be liable for the injury guarantees should Wilson fail the spring physical.
As relayed by Russini, representatives from the Broncos reached out to Wilson late in October, notifying him of a planned benching and inactivity for the remainder of the season, unless he chose to defer the injury guarantee trigger date. Despite legal consultations, involving representatives from the NFLPA, there were no alterations made to the existing contract.
Addressing the situation, Payton remarked, “I comprehend the speculation surrounding such a move, and I can affirm that our primary objective is to secure a offensive spark. While economic considerations are prevalent, the decision, ultimately mine, is rooted in the pursuit of offensive resurgence.”
Wilson abstained from addressing the media on Wednesday but expressed anticipation for what lies ahead through a post on X.
Should the Broncos opt for Wilson’s release before March 17, they would find themselves burdened with an astonishing $85 million in dead cap funds for 2024, according to Spotrac. Alternatively, a post-June 1 designation for his release would incur $35.4 million in dead money for 2024 and $49.6 million for 2025.
The Broncos undertook a considerable investment, including two first-round and two second-round picks, to secure Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks in March 2022.
Subsequently, a five-year, $245 million extension was granted to the Super Bowl champion QB before the 2022 season.
However, the decision to go all-in on Wilson has proven to be a monumental letdown. The Broncos’ performance with Wilson at the helm was lackluster, achieving a mere 4-11 record, and an overall 5-12 in 2022, marking the worst season in Wilson’s career.
While the addition of Payton as head coach was anticipated to rejuvenate Wilson’s Pro Bowl caliber, the improvement in numbers, compared to the dismal 2022 season, has not been sufficient to alleviate Denver’s offensive struggles. ESPN’s metrics place the Broncos at 16th in scoring, 20th on third-down conversions, 22nd in the red zone, 25th in passing, and a challenging 31st in goal-to-go situations.