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There’s no way the Broncos will keep Russell Wilson

As recently as last week, some in the media were suggesting that there was a way the Broncos and quarterback Russell Wilson could continue their relationship in 2024. That is not happening. It will not happen.

The die was cast the moment Wilson was benched. The decision to put him on the sideline before Denver was mathematically eliminated from the 2023 postseason constitutes a proclamation to the world that he’s not, in the opinion of coach Sean Payton, a franchise quarterback.

Which means they don’t want to pay him like one. Which means they won’t pay him $37 million fully guaranteed in 2025. They already owe him $39 million in 2024. They’ll cut him after the league year begins, designate the move as a post-June 1 transaction, take the cap hit over 2024 and 2025, avoid the 2025 salary, and move on.

That’s what’s happening. If anything, the recent remarks from Wilson to Brandon Marshall confirm it. Wilson says just enough to rankle the Broncos on questions of whether they asked him to waive his injury guarantee (they didn’t) and whether the NFL acknowledged that the request to defer the vesting date of his 2025 injury guarantee was “illegal” (the Broncos would say that never occurred).

If there was any doubt, consider this quote from Payton at his Tuesday press conference held in conjunction with the Scouting Combine.

“I saw this humorous meme the other day where there’s a Broncos fan with a shirt on with like eight quarterback’s names crossed through them and he’s drinking the quarterback Kool-Aid,” Payton said. “Our job is to make sure this next one doesn’t have a line through it.”

The next one.

The. Next. One.

That’s the closest thing the Broncos have come to confirming that it will be a farewell to Russ. It’ll be interesting to see where he goes next. It’ll be interesting to see what the Broncos do next.

It makes an interesting offseason even more interesting.