The Denver Broncos have been trying to keep their slim playoff hopes alive but Russell Wilson will be on the bench as coach Sean Payton officially told the team that Jarrett Stidham will be starting Week 17 with Russell Wilson serving as the backup. There are a few reasons why this move happened and it will be interesting to dive into.
Change in Denver: Broncos’ HC Sean Payton has informed his team that Jarrett Stidham will start Sunday vs. the Chargers, with Russell Wilson as the backup, per sources.
With a 1-3 record in the last four games, Denver is looking to spark its offense and see what it has in… pic.twitter.com/P6X2DO0jT7
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 27, 2023
Russell Wilson did not play terribly as he has gone 297-of-447 (66.4 completion percentage) for 3,070 yards with 26 passing touchdowns to eight interceptions. However, with the Denver Broncos sitting at 7-8 this season and 12th in the AFC, they likely will miss the postseason altogether.
The biggest reason for Sean Payton and the Broncos going in this direction is financial. Russell Wilson’s contract has $39 million guaranteed for the 2024 season. However, if he was unable to pass a physical in early March 2024, he would get an additional $37 million. This move guarantees some financial flexibility for the team going into the offseason as Wilson cannot get hurt.
What is next for Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos?
Let’s break this down and discuss the Wilson side of things first. Wilson is in the second season of his 5-year, $242 million contract. However, there is a potential out before the 2026 season. With the prevailing thought that Sean Payton is not a fan of Wilson’s, do not be surprised to see the Broncos try and move him in an attempt to get some draft capital back they traded for him.
The five-year deal is actually an extension so if the team does not opt out after the 2025 season, he is under contract through 2028. As one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL, he will be 41 as a free agent and could be traded before then.
For the Denver Broncos, things are a bit more interesting. It is clear the Broncos are in the midst of a culture shift as they have cut veterans and now benched Wilson during Sean Payton’s first year as the head coach. Expect to see either a rookie quarterback or an experienced veteran that has experience in Payton’s system get the starting job for next season.
Broncos country, let’s potentially rebuild this roster.
For more of my content, make sure to follow me on Twitter @TalkVinTalk. I am also part of Total Apex Sports, where we are doing daily content on YouTube, discussing fantasy and betting that you can watch by clicking here.