Denver Broncos to Release Quarterback Russell Wilson

The Denver Broncos are throwing in the towel on one of the worst trades of all time. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the team has informed nine-time Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson he will be released at the beginning of the new league year.

The Broncos traded two first-round picks, two second-round picks, and multiple players for Wilson before the 2022 season. They promptly signed him to a five-year, $245 million extension before he played a snap for them.

They would soon come to regret that decision. Wilson's Broncos finished dead last in points scored in 2022, and his offenses have scored a middling 19.4 points per game over his last 30 starts. Per overthecap, the Broncos will accelerate an unprecedented $85 million in dead money onto their salary cap over the 2024 and 2025 seasons by cutting Wilson.

It's a shockingly aggressive move by the Broncos. They flirted with competence last year, finishing  19th in points scored and with an 8-9 record, and some of Wilson's surface statistics actually looked respectable (a 26 to 8 touchdown-to-interception ratio, 98.0 passer rating). However, Wilson's acquisition occurred before the arrival of head coach Sean Payton in 2023. Clearly, the new figures at the top of the organization are desperate to move on from Wilson, even if it comes at enormous expense over the next two years.

By definition, competence and mediocrity would be an improvement for about half the teams in the league, and that means Wilson still has value. His disastrous contract with the Broncos could be another team's boon: Due to offsetting language in the deal, Wilson is incentivized to play the 2024 season for the league-minimum, a miniscule $1.21 million. That alone could suddenly make him the most coveted quarterback in free agency, ahead of even Kirk Cousins and Baker Mayfield. At the very least, he'll be the most intriguing.

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