American Football

Wilson may want to ‘win two more Super Bowls’ – but it won’t be with Denver


Los Angeles Chargers v Denver Broncos
Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

He knows it, and we know it, but modern-day sports PR dictates that he has to say that.

Good morning, Broncos Country!

By now you’ve read multiple headlines all reacting to Russell Wilson’s comments on the “I Am Athlete” podcast that dropped Sunday night.

The Sean Payton-benched quarterback wants to stay in Denver and win championships. Two to be exact.

“I’ve got more fire than ever, honestly, especially over the past two years of what I’ve gone through,’’ Wilson told podcast host Brandon Marshall. “Whether it’s in Denver or somewhere else, I hope it’s in Denver, I hope I get to finish there. I committed there, I wanted to be there. I want to be there.”

But he also wants to be wanted.

“For me, it’s about winning,” Wilson said, adding he loves the city and wants to stay there. “But you also want to be in a place that wants you, too. The thing I want to do is to win, that’s all I care about.”

Though Payton has not officially stated his plans with Wilson, his desires have been more than made clear.

By benching Wilson the final two games of the season and then saying he is looking for a quarterback who is a quick processor, Wilson’s time in Denver has come and gone.

And Wilson certainly knows that. The podcast appearance was his PR team getting out in front of his looming cut before March 17 when Wilson’s $37 million salary in 2025 becomes guaranteed.

Of course he’s going to say he wants to stay in Denver. And he probably genuinely does. But he also knows – just as we know – how unlikely that is.

And more than Wilson wants to remain a Bronco, he wants to win and get paid. So he better keep that 12-bathroom house on the market because he’s not likely to remain in Colorado.

As Bucky Brooks said in so many words on the NFL Network, that ain’t happening.

“Russell, it won’t be there. It won’t be there because the Denver Broncos are likely to move into the top 10 to go get the quarterback of their choice,” Brooks said. “I’m sorry, Russell, but they’re moving on.

“Payton wants to get his guy, a young guy he can groom and take the offense to the next level,” Brooks added.

Now that the NFL has increased the salary cap by $30 million for 2024, the dead cap damage for Wilson’s contract is “slightly more palatable” as Denver Post’s Parker Gabriel notes.

And Gabriel adds that the Broncos will have three options for absorbing that hit – incurring the full $85 million on the 2024 books or splitting it between 2024 and 2025. If splitting, Denver could choose which year takes the bigger hit – either $53 million (2024) and $32 million (2025) or $35.4 million in 2024 and $49.6 million the following year.

Perhaps the most likely scenario for Wilson is to go to a QB-needy team (like the Patriots) for the league minimum while still raking in Denver’s cash because all signs are pointing to the Broncos aiming to draft a young QB to lead the team in 2024 and beyond.

Brooks certainly doesn’t know which one that might be, but like so many projections last week, he likes Michigan’s former quarterback as a fit in Denver.

“Maybe J.J. McCarthy puts on a show; he could go there,” Brooks said. “He could be QB No. 4 [in the draft]. I kinda like that.”

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