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Broncos to decide on future of QB Russell Wilson union within 2 weeks

Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson remains under contract amid rumors of a potential split with the team. File Photo by Mark Black/UPI

INDIANAPOLIS, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- The Denver Broncos will decide on the future of their union with quarterback Russell Wilson within the next two weeks, coach Sean Payton told reporters Tuesday at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.

Payton plans to meet with the Broncos ownership group March 5 and 6 to discuss the decision.

"I expect we're going to know fairly quickly,'' Payton said inside a ballroom at the Indiana Convention Center. "I said it at the Super Bowl, but more specifically, somewhere of the neighborhood [of] next week."

Wilson, 35, signed a five-year, $242.5 million contract with the Broncos in 2022. That deal included $124 million at signing. His $39 million salary for 2024 is full guaranteed. Wilson is guaranteed another $37 million if he doesn't pass a physical in March.

Wilson completed 66.4% of his throws for 3,070 yards, 26 scores and eight interceptions through 15 starts last season. He was benched for the final two games of the season.

Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson threw 26 touchdown passes last season. File Photo by Mark Black/UPI
Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson threw 26 touchdown passes last season. File Photo by Mark Black/UPI

By having Wilson sit out the final two weeks of the season the Broncos potentially avoided a major injury for the quarterback, which could have triggered his injury guarantee.

Payton told reporters at the time of Wilson's benching that the move was made to give the Broncos offense a "spark." Wilson said that the Broncos told him he would be benched if he didn't alter the injury guarantee in his contract.

Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson signed a five-year, $242.5 million contract in 2022. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI
Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson signed a five-year, $242.5 million contract in 2022. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI

The Broncos would take on $85 million in dead money against the salary cap over the next two years if they released Wilson.

General manager George Paton said Tuesday in Indianapolis that the Broncos have "moved forward," when asked about the matter of Wilson's contract. He also told reporters he hasn't "heard anything from other teams," when asked about trade interest in Wilson.

Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson owns a career 115-72-1 record as a starter. File Photo by David Tulis/UPI
Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson owns a career 115-72-1 record as a starter. File Photo by David Tulis/UPI

"I appreciate that, but we've moved forward, everything we did was aboveboard,'' Paton said. "I appreciate Russ, but we've moved forward. We have a lot of work to do, we're here at the combine, with free agency around the corner, we're focused on bettering our football team.''

Payton cited the NFL's new, increased salary cap projections, free agency and the draft class as other items on the Broncos off-season agenda. He also hinted that the Broncos' are focused on finding their next quarterback.

Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson told reporters he was benched last season because he refused to alter the injury guarantee in his contract. File Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI
Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson told reporters he was benched last season because he refused to alter the injury guarantee in his contract. File Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI

"I saw this humorous meme the other day where there was a Broncos fan with a shirt on," Payton said. "There were like eight quarterbacks names that were crossed through. ... Our job is to make sure the next one doesn't have a line through it."

The Broncos own the No. 12 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.