Russell Wilson Free To Negotiate With Teams

MARCH 6: Although Wilson will remain a Bronco until March 13, the team will extend this free agency preview of sorts to include in-person visits with other clubs, per’s Adam Schefter. An unofficial agreement could conceivably commence before free agency starts, though teams interested in Wilson likely will be interested in seeing how other QB dominoes fall before committing.

MARCH 5: The Broncos officially announced on Monday that Russell Wilson will be let go, marking an end to his disappointing stint with the team. The move will not be made until the new league year begins, but Wilson could have a new agreement in place by that point.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports Denver has no issue with Wilson immediately negotiating with prospective teams. The outgoing veteran passer is still under contract with the Broncos (and will be until March 13), but with his fate already known the team will allow him to begin seeking out his next home. Wilson is therefore, for all intents and purposes, already a free agent.

With $39MM in compensation guaranteed for 2024 by the Broncos, an acquiring team will not be obligated to add the Super Bowl winner on a lucrative pact. Any base salary Wilson signs for will offset part of Denver’s obligations to him. Given the state of the 35-year-old’s value, though, a short-term pact at a low cost will likely be the means by which he begins the third chapter of his NFL career.

A number of teams will be in the market for a veteran passer as the offseason unfolds. Wilson will not be as in-demand as the likes of Kirk Cousins or Baker Mayfield, but he could be viewed as having higher upside than other bridge options such as Jacoby Brissett and Ryan Tannehill. While the Broncos could be in the market for an experienced signal-caller to take Wilson’s place, the top incumbent passer on the roster will likely receive the first chance to earn the starting gig.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network notes Jarrett Stidham is in place to take on QB1 duties, especially if Denver does not add a quarterback in the first round of April’s draft (video link). Plenty could change under center in the coming months, but Payton has thrown his support behind Stidham (who signed a two-year deal last offseason) before and after he filled in for Wilson following the latter’s benching. Resources will be limited if the Broncos aim to add a pricey free agent, of course, given the cap consequences of Wilson’s release.

On that point, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports Denver has not yet decided how to handle the move to cut Wilson. A guaranteed $22MM payment owed next week either as an option bonus or, if declined, base salary, will affect the cap charges associated with the release. The team will be hit with $35.4MM in dead money in 2024 and $49.6MM next season if the option is picked up, or cap charges of $53MM and $32MM if not. The Broncos will make a decision on how to structure Wilson’s contract while he begins the process of landing a new one.

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