Broncos to cut Wilson, take $85M dead money hit

NFL

The Denver Broncos announced Monday that they have informed quarterback Russell Wilson that he will be released after the 2024 league year begins next Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET.

“We spoke with Russell Wilson today to inform him of his release after the start of the league year. On behalf of the Broncos, we thank Russell for his contributions and dedication to our team and community while wishing him the best as he continues his career,” general manager George Paton and coach Sean Payton said in a joint statement.

“As we move forward, we are focused on building the strongest team possible for the 2024 season and beyond. We are excited to improve this offseason and will have the flexibility to get better through the draft and free agency.”

By releasing Wilson, the Broncos will take on $85 million in “dead money” charges against its salary cap over the next two seasons.

The Broncos benched Wilson with two games left in the regular season. The Broncos went 1-1 in those games with Jarrett Stidham at quarterback in two of their four lowest-scoring outputs of the season — 16 points in a win over the Los Angeles Chargers and 14 points in the loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.

At the time he announced Wilson’s benching, and since, Payton said it was a football decision he made in search of “a spark” on offense. Wilson, however, said Dec. 29 that the Broncos approached him about waiving a guarantee in the five-year, $242.6 million contract he signed in 2022. That guarantee would give Wilson, who is already guaranteed $39 million in 2024.

Had he not been released, he would have been guaranteed another $37 million (his 2025 salary) if he could not pass a physical on the fifth day of the new league year in March.

ESPN’s Jeff Legwold contributed to this report.

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