When the Denver Broncos hired Sean Payton as their head coach, it was widely expected he would be able to salvage the career of quarterback Russell Wilson. Things have not gone according to plan as Wilson has been mediocre in a 2-5 start for the Broncos, who are much closer to the Caleb Williams sweepstakes than most expected them to be on Opening Day.
Wilson was relatively efficient in Week 7's tight win over the Green Bay Packers, completing 20-of-29 passes for 194 yards and a touchdown, but Denver expected more explosive play from him than 6.7 yards an attempt. Payton has shown visible frustration with Wilson at times as well, notably looking disgusted when Wilson had a key turnover late in Week 5's loss to the New York Jets.
While most assume that Wilson's massive contract extension he signed with the Broncos after being traded from Seattle last year makes him uncuttable, there does appear to be a window for Denver to move on from him relatively soon.
When can the Broncos move on from Russell Wilson?
The topic of Wilson's contract came up in a Q&A session with FOX Sports' Jay Glazer, who was asked to break down Denver's tough start to the season. Glazer noted that the Broncos have to make a decision prior to the fifth day of 2024's league year when $37.5 million on Wilson's contract becomes guaranteed . . . for 2025.
Moving on from Wilson would be costly, as a cut or trade prior to that date would still leave Denver with almost $50 million in dead cap space, but if he is on the team after that date it essentially ties Wilson to the Broncos for two more seasons. The next reasonable opportunity to move on from Wilson after that comes prior to the 2026 season when Denver would have to absorb $31.2 million in dead cap space.
The time to make a decision on Wilson is rapidly approaching and Payton is undoubtedly watching this year's college quarterback crop to see if it's worth pulling the plug on Wilson after the season. Wilson will need to perform a lot better over Denver's final 10 games to have a chance of the Broncos guaranteeing his 2025 base salary.