NFL Network Blames Russell Wilson in Latest Report

Broncos' Quarterback Controversy Takes Surprising Turn.

by Nouman Rasool
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NFL Network Blames Russell Wilson in Latest Report
© Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

In a recent development shaking the NFL landscape, the Denver Broncos' handling of star quarterback Russell Wilson has sparked widespread controversy and debate. The situation gained momentum following Wilson's benching, a move that raised eyebrows across the league, especially given his stature as a former Super Bowl champion and his massive $250 million contract.

The crux of the issue revolves around a reported ultimatum from the Broncos to Wilson, pressuring him to waive the injury guarantee in his 2025 contract worth $37 million. While the Broncos ultimately did not deactivate Wilson, this approach, confirmed by Wilson himself, was met with significant criticism from football media and fans alike.

Many argued that Wilson's improving performance did not warrant such a request, and the very idea of asking a player to forfeit an injury guarantee was seen as distasteful. Additionally, the timing of this request, during a winning streak and a bye week, was widely considered to be in poor judgment.

This story's unfolding has seen various narratives, with reports by prominent NFL insiders like Ian Rapoport, Mike Klis, Tom Pelissero, and Adam Schefter presenting differing perspectives. Rapoport's account in particular has been perceived as unfavorable towards Wilson, in contrast to more sympathetic views from journalists like Dianna Russini and Jordan Schultz.

Payton's Doubts Emerge

Behind the scenes, head coach Sean Payton's reservations about Wilson's capabilities have surfaced. Despite publicly expressing confidence in Wilson's potential during his interview for the Broncos' head coaching position, sources indicate Payton harbored doubts about transforming Wilson into a championship-level quarterback.

Film reviews by the team have reportedly revealed Wilson's consistent failure to identify open players in a timely manner, leading to speculation about Jarrett Stidham, signed by Payton, being a better fit for the team's offense.

Rapoport also sheds light on the Broncos' earlier attempts to negotiate Wilson's contract, not to eliminate but to adjust the injury guarantee. This move, theoretically, would have bolstered Wilson's chances of remaining with the team in 2024, but his refusal to negotiate casts doubt on his future with the Broncos.

Allegations of the Broncos' motives being financially driven have been contested. The decision to bench Wilson seems to be a culmination of weeks of internal deliberation, exacerbated by the team's offensive struggles, notably during a dismal performance against Houston.

While Wilson's clutch plays have been instrumental in the Broncos' successes, the team's offensive inefficiency, particularly towards the season's end, points to deeper issues. The situation, while financially complex, primarily highlights on-field performance inadequacies.

While the quarterback is not solely responsible, the execution of the offense under Wilson has been a significant factor. Despite a relatively healthy roster and occasional victories against formidable opponents, the Broncos' lackluster passing attack and poor third-down conversion rate have been glaring weaknesses.

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