Broncos GM approached Russell Wilson’s agent in-season; QB in limbo for ’24

Field Level Media

January 09, 2024 at 8:22 pm.

Russell Wilson was informed by head coach Sean Payton that the Denver Broncos are still working through a decision on his status with the franchise for 2024.

Wilson sat down with Payton in a 30-minute meeting on Monday, according to the coach, where the quarterback was told the Broncos don’t intend to leave him hanging all offseason.

“I told him, ‘Look, I don’t think it’s going to be a long, drawn-out process but it hasn’t been decided relative to what our plans are,” Payton said, adding more clearly that Denver hasn’t made “an official decision” on whether Wilson will be part of the team in 2024.

All signs point to a split as Wilson alleges an ultimatum — involving adjusting injury guarantees in his contract — preceded his benching, with the Broncos promoting backup Jarrett Stidham to start the last two games in an 8-9 season. Payton said he wasn’t privy to financially driven conversations and called that move a “football decision.”

Wilson said the front office approached him after the Broncos’ 24-9 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Oct. 29.

“We beat the Chiefs,” Wilson said. “They came up to me during the bye week and beginning of the bye week, Monday or Tuesday, they told me if I didn’t change my contract, my injury guarantee, that I’d be benched the rest of the year.

“I was definitely disappointed about it. It was a process for the whole bye week. We had just come off beating the Chiefs, I was excited for us fighting for the playoffs and getting on a hot streak. The NFLPA and NFL got involved or whatever at some point.”

Paton said Tuesday he did reach out to Wilson’s representatives in “good faith and creative attempt to adjust his contract.”

“We couldn’t get a deal done, we moved on with our season,” Paton said. “Fast forward to Week 17, Sean makes a change at the QB position. This was a football decision, in the best interest of the team, completely independent of the conversation with the agent.

“Negotiations are hard. You have difficult conversations, tough conversations. … We always try to handle ourselves professionally and in the best interest of the Broncos.”

Wilson is assured of receiving $39 million next season even if he’s not welcomed back by the Broncos. Should he be unable to pass a physical next March, his 2025 pay of $37 million would be guaranteed, too.

“I wasn’t going to remove or push or take away my injury guarantee,” Wilson said. “This game is such a physical game. I’ve played 12 years. That matters to me.”

Stidham said Monday he’s “very confident” he’ll be the Broncos’ starting quarterback in 2024 in the second year of a two-year, $10 million deal he signed in March 2023.

Wilson, 35, said he is shooting to regain his job.

“I want to be able to play, I want to be able to help this team win,” he said. “I know every time I step on the field it’s a physical game. I never play timid. I never play scared.”