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Broncos’ Sean Payton: Russell Wilson decision coming soon

INDIANAPOLIS — The Russell Wilson drama continues to percolate but Denver Broncos coach Sean Payton said Tuesday that a decision is on the horizon.

Payton said the team will meet with ownership next week regarding the future of Wilson and he expects a decision to be reached within two weeks.

“I expect that we’re going to know fairly quickly,” Payton said at the NFL Scouting Combine. “… There’s a couple of factors here, obviously the cap projections ($255.4 million) came out, we’re further down the road with the draft class, so I would anticipate it being within the next two weeks.”

Wilson has been much-maligned during his two seasons in Denver and was benched for the final two games of last season in favor of Jarrett Stidham.

If Wilson isn’t traded or released by March 17, then $37 million in salary guarantees for the 2025 season will be locked in.

Making a trade by then doesn’t seem likely based on Tuesday’s comments from Broncos general manager George Paton.

"I haven't heard anything from any teams so we'll see," Paton said.

On Sunday on the “I Am Athlete” podcast with former Broncos receiver Brandon Marshall, Wilson indicated he would prefer to remain with the Broncos.

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

Wilson, a nine-time Pro Bowl pick, was acquired from the Seattle Seahawks prior to the 2022 season for three players and five draft choices. The Broncos then gave him a five-year, $242.5 million contract extension before he even played for the club.

There hasn’t been much bang for the buck with Wilson compiling an 11-19 record in 30 starts. Wilson had 16 touchdown passes against 11 interceptions in 2022 and improved the marks to 26 and eight, respectively, last season.

The issue of bad blood can’t be overlooked after the Broncos approached Wilson’s representation in October and asked for the quarterback to push back the injury guarantee date on his contract and included a threat to bench him if he didn’t comply.

“We moved forward, we addressed that,” Paton said. “Everything we did was above board. I appreciate Russ but we moved forward. We have a lot of work to do. We’re here at the combine. We have free agency around the corner. We’re working on bettering our team and winning football games.”

Paton and Payton are both dissecting the available quarterbacks in the 2024 draft class. Denver owns the No. 12 pick and Paton said the club is open to all possibilities, while admitting there’s not enough draft capital to move up to No. 1 where Southern California’s Caleb Williams is expected to be selected.

“It’s the most important position in sports,” Paton said. “So it’s important — whether it’s from within. That’s why this is taking a long time, this decision is very important. If you’re going to draft one, that’s obviously very difficult. … There’s more mistakes it seems at quarterback, especially in the first round.”

Payton is looking forward to evaluating the draft-hopeful quarterbacks.

“I think we’ll be really good at this and to some degree we’re glad that a lot of people aren’t,” Payton said.

The Broncos (8-9) missed the playoffs for the eighth straight season in 2023.

–Field Level Media


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