Broncos Set to Cut Ties with QB Russell Wilson, Brace for Record Dead-Cap Impact

Denver's quarterback saga takes a costly turn towards resolution.

by Nouman Rasool
Broncos Set to Cut Ties with QB Russell Wilson, Brace for Record Dead-Cap Impact
© Ethan Miller/Getty Images

In a move that has been brewing for weeks within the corridors of the NFL, the Denver Broncos are reportedly on the brink of parting ways with their star quarterback, Russell Wilson. After an ambitious acquisition that cost them multiple first-round picks, the Broncos' relationship with the Super Bowl-winning quarterback appears to have reached its conclusion, with Wilson set to enter free agency.

The writing was on the wall for Wilson's tenure with the Broncos well before the offseason officially began. His benching before the season's end, coupled with revelations of the team's earlier threats over his contract guarantees, clearly signalled Denver's intentions.

Despite Wilson's respectable performance in 2023, boasting a 98.0 QB rating, a 66.4% completion rate, and a 26-8 TD-INT ratio, the Broncos seem ready to move on.

Broncos' Wilson Dilemma

The decision to release Wilson comes after failed attempts to trade the veteran quarterback.

Denver's desire to shift Wilson was no secret, especially given the evident disconnect between him and head coach Sean Payton. Yet, the Broncos found no takers for Wilson's hefty contract, setting the stage for what is anticipated to be the largest dead-cap hit in NFL history.

Reports from The Athletic's Dianna Russini at the NFL Combine suggest that insiders fully expect Denver to release Wilson by March 17—the day before his $37 million injury guarantee locks in for the 2024 season. This impending move leaves the Broncos facing an unprecedented $85 million dead-cap hit, surpassing the league's previous record cap hits combined.

Despite the financial and strategic ramifications for Denver, Wilson's impending free agency is poised to generate significant interest across the league. At 35, Wilson demonstrated last season that he still possesses the skills of a starting-caliber quarterback.

With the Broncos shouldering a substantial portion of his salary, Wilson is expected to attract numerous offers, ready to negotiate a team-friendly deal with his next franchise. This pivotal moment for both Wilson and the Broncos marks a significant shift in the NFL landscape.

As Denver prepares to absorb a historic financial blow, Wilson looks ahead to the next chapter of his illustrious career, with several teams likely vying for the opportunity to add his experience and leadership to their roster.

Broncos Russell Wilson