Broncos take $85m hit to bring Russell Wilson’s Denver career to an early end

The Broncos have prematurely ended Russell Wilson’s expensive and unsuccessful time in Denver by announcing they will cut the quarterback from their roster.

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

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“As we move forward, we are focused on building the strongest possible team 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.”

The Broncos will pocket $85 million dead money against their salary cap for the next two seasons by releasing the 35-year-old.

Wilson, who won the Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks in the 2013 season, joined the Broncos in March 2022 with the expectation that he could help them make a push to the championship. He came at a high price: the Broncos sent two first-round picks, two second-round picks, a fifth-round pick, quarterback Drew Lock, defensive lineman Shelby Harris and tight end Noah Fant to the Seahawks in exchange for Wilson and a fourth-round pick. Wilson signed a five-year contract extension with Denver worth $245 million in September 2022.

However, the Broncos finished last in the AFC West with a 5-12 record in 2022. They improved to 8-9 after Payton’s arrival in 2023, but still finished well short of the playoffs. While Wilson wasn’t responsible for all of Denver’s problems during that span, he posted the lowest passer rating of his career in 2022 and was benched for the final two games of the 2023 season, with Payton saying the team had a ” spark” needed in the attack.