Broncos’ Russell Wilson benched: 7 logical landing spots for veteran QB, who’s likely to be released

Barring a drastic turn of events, the marriage between the Broncos and Russell Wilson is effectively over after less than two full seasons. By benching the veteran quarterback ahead of Week 17, largely in an effort to avoid paying out potential injury guarantees in Wilson’s lucrative contract, the Broncos are broadcasting to the world they’re prepared to split with the ex-Seahawks star after 2023.

Was Wilson better this season than in 2022, his erratic Denver debut? Yes. Is he still under contract with the Broncos through 2028? Yes. But with the playoffs all but out of the picture following Week 16’s loss to the Patriots, the primary reason for Wilson’s demotion is the team’s preservation of a potentially seamless escape route; if Wilson plays and suffers an injury in the final two weeks of 2023, Denver won’t be able to outright release him, avoiding a $37 million payout he’s due in March.

In other words, Wilson’s release is all but inevitable. In fact, Wilson is expecting to be cut in March,¬†according to The Athletic. The same scenario unfolded in the AFC West at the end of the 2022 season, when the Raiders demoted longtime starter Derek Carr in anticipation of an offseason breakup. And because Wilson’s contract dictates that Denver can’t save immediate salary-cap space by trading the QB before June 1, an outright release is the most likely outcome. Assuming that occurs, and Wilson becomes a free agent, here are some logical suitors:

Baker Mayfield is exceeding expectations while guiding Tampa Bay to a likely playoff appearance, and both sides are reportedly interested in a new deal. But what if Mayfield’s camp is inclined to test the open market after settling for a one-year trial run last offseason? The Bucs won’t be picking early in the first round of the 2024 draft due to their NFC South title bid, and their offensive coordinator, Dave Canales, oversaw a big year from Wilson with the 2020…


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