Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos will go their separate ways after two unsuccessful seasons in which they tried and failed to reach the playoffs. Willson arrived in Denver to much fanfare but couldn’t help the Broncos get to the NFL postseason and was even relegated to the bench for the last two games of the season. The 35-year-old quarterback will be released on March 13 when the new NFL season starts.

Largest Dead Salary Hit in NFL History

Wilson led Denver to a disappointing 7-8 record, while his replacement, Jarrett Stidham started the last two games, winning one and losing one. The 8-9 finish meant the Broncos had the seventh losing season in a row, failing to win more games than they lost.

Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton and general manager George Paton said they were hoping Wilson’s release would benefit the team, releasing a joint statement on X that the team was excited to improve during the offseason through the draft and free agency.

According to Spotrac, a website keeping tabs on players’ salaries, the Broncos will have to contend with the effects of Wilson’s huge salary during the 2024 and 2025 seasons too. Denver will need to pay $39 million to Wilson next season. Of course, the amount Wilson’s new team pays him will be deducted, but the Broncos still won’t be able to take the experienced quarterback off their books.

In fact, Denver will have to find a way to offset the negative impact of releasing Wilson, as they will incur $85 million in dead salary money for the next two seasons following hisrelease. No team in the NFL has ever incurred a dead cap hit as large as the Broncos’ soon will.

Investing Players and Draft Picks in a Deal That Went Wrong

Wilson went to social media to express his gratitude to Denver fans, writing that “tough times don’t last but tough people do.” He also thanked his Broncos teammates, mentioning several of them individually and recalling memorable plays from their time together, such as Court’s “one-handed catch in LA” and Jeu’s “snagging and high-pointing that ball vs KC.”

Wilson joined the Broncos in 2022 after he was traded from the Seattle Seahawks, with several Broncos players going the other way. The deal also included two picks in the first round of the draft, two second-round selections, and a fifth-round pick. Wilson’s record with the Broncos after two seasons stands at 11 wins and 19 losses.