Russell Wilson’s career with the Denver Broncos may be over.
Multiple league sources confirmed Wednesday that the Broncos will bench the quarterback for their final two games and start Jarrett Stidham. Denver (7-8) hosts the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday and visits the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 18. Wilson will be the No. 2 quarterback, a team source said.
Wilson hopes to be cut in marchby The AthleticIt’s Dianna Russini. That would be just two years after the Broncos traded two first-round picks, two second-round picks, three players and more to Seattle for the nine-time Pro Bowler quarterback to the Seahawks.
The Broncos’ trade for Russell Wilson was a disaster, but the blame goes beyond the QB
Wilson has thrown for 3,070 yards with 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions this season, his first under coach Sean Payton, but his contract is an issue. Wilson is guaranteed $39 million for 2024. He has $37 million in injury guarantees that will become fully guaranteed if he is still on the roster on the fifth day of the 2024 league year that begins in March.
So what does this mean for Wilson in 2024? If the Broncos cut him, who might have a need and interest? We identified four teams (the Raiders, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots and Washington Commanders) that could potentially be in the mix for Wilson, who turned 35 last month and is about to finish his 12th NFL season.
The AthleticBeat writers from those teams weighed in on why Wilson might fit and why he might not.
Las Vegas Raiders
Why Wilson might fit: The only way this would make sense for the Raiders is if Wilson is released. They have to find a way to move on from their expensive backup quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, this offseason; As a result, they will incur a considerable hit of dead money and will have no interest in taking on Wilson’s salary. That said, Wilson has been solid this year: he is 10th in completion percentage, 16th in passing yards, tied for sixth in touchdown passes and has thrown just eight interceptions in 15 games. He’s no longer a Pro Bowl-level player, but he’s still a starting-caliber quarterback. If he’s willing to sign for cheap and the Raiders can’t draft their quarterback of the future, perhaps signing him to compete with Aidan O’Connell for the starting job could make sense.
Why you might not: The Raiders really need to draft their quarterback of the future this offseason. After moving on from Derek Carr and soon doing the same with Garoppolo, they need to get off the veteran quarterback’s treadmill and reset their timeline. O’Connell has done a good job since he took over from Garoppolo considering the circumstances, but it doesn’t seem like he should be the long-term option. The best path for the Raiders to find that player is through the draft, without adding a developing veteran quarterback. — Tashan Reed, Raiders writer
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Why Wilson might fit: This feels like a sort of Hail Mary, which, considering Wilson is the subject, seems appropriate. The Vikings quarterback’s 2024 plans are uncertain, as Kirk Cousins’ contract expires at the end of the season and he likely has plenty of suitors. If Cousins signs elsewhere, the Vikings could look for high-end talent in the draft. In that situation, they would probably sign a bridge quarterback to allow that young man to develop. If he is cut, Wilson fits into that category along with other mid-to-low level options.
Why you might not: The return of the cousins would immediately put an end to this discussion. But even if he leaves, it’s fair to wonder if Wilson’s asking price would make sense. Garoppolo, for example, signed a three-year, $72.5 million contract with the Raiders in March. Wilson is older, but he’s also more accomplished. Let’s say he wanted a two-year, $40 million contract. The Vikings, who would likely draft a QB in Cousins’ absence, probably wouldn’t pay that kind of money for a short-term answer. Additionally, Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell values midfield accuracy and big field vision in his quarterbacks. While Wilson has produced statistically this season, those qualities are in question, which is why the Broncos benched him in the first place. — Alec Lewis, Vikings writer
New England Patriots
Why Wilson might fit: The short answer is that the Patriots need a quarterback in 2024 after the end of the Mac Jones era. It’s still unclear who will make key decisions for the team this offseason, but Bill Belichick praised Wilson before their matchup last weekend, won by the Patriots. If Belichick is still around, he could be interested in a quick-fix plan instead of a rebuild, potentially making Wilson an option in New England.
Why couldn’t it?: If the Patriots end up with a top-two pick, there would be plenty of reasons to take advantage of that and have a quarterback on a rookie contract. It’s also worth noting that Wilson is 35 years old and may not live up to the Patriots’ hopes of finding a long-term quarterback this offseason, especially if Belichick doesn’t call the shots going forward. — Chad Graff, Patriots win writer
Why Wilson might fit: Jacoby Brissett on Sunday will become Washington’s 36th starting quarterback since 1993. That sad history means all options must be considered. For the right price, that is, salary; I can’t see Washington trading picks: Wilson could be viewed as a viable option if the franchise is looking for a quick turnaround and a star player.
Why you might not: Further proof that time is a flat circle: Coach Ron Rivera made an effort to trade for Wilson in 2022, but Wilson had no interest in joining the Commanders circus under owner Dan Snyder. Now that Snyder is out, and Rivera will likely be out after this season, would Russ want to cook in the nation’s capital? Even if he did, it is unlikely that the commanders would have interest. New decision-makers will determine the depth of any rebuild, but it’s obvious Washington’s holes go beyond quarterback. If the Commanders keep the No. 3 pick in the draft, they could potentially select a highly touted prospect. Brissett, a 2024 free agent, is a cleaner veteran to pair with a draft pick or Sam Howell. — Ben Standig
(Photo: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
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