Broncos say QB Russell Wilson could remain with team in 2024

When the Denver Broncos benched quarterback Russell Wilson with two games remaining in the 2023 season, the fallout was swift.

Reports quickly emerged that the team had threatened to bench Wilson weeks earlier if he did not change his contract, and another report stated that Wilson expects to be released by the team in March.

A few days after the news broke, Wilson spoke to media members and publicly stated that Denver threatened to bench him during contract negotiations. The Broncos have insisted that the benching was a football decision — not a financially motivated move — but the team has not directly denied threatening to bench Wilson during contract talks.

After all that drama, Denver and Wilson are undoubtedly headed for a divorce this offseason, right? Perhaps not.

During his end-of-season press conference earlier this week, coach Sean Payton said he had a meeting with Wilson, but a long-term decision had not yet been made. Payton was then asked if there’s a scenario in which Wilson remains with the team in 2024.

“Yeah,” Payton said. “Otherwise, it would have been like, ‘Hey, goodbye.’ I said that to you way back when. We’ll look at all the scenarios and try to do what is best for the Broncos. Communication will be important. That final decision hasn’t been made.”

Broncos general manager George Paton took it a step further, stating that “the door remains open” for Wilson to return to the team this spring.

“I think Sean commented on that,” Paton said when asked if Wilson might return in 2024. “This [upcoming] meeting is a deep dive into the entire roster. The door remains open with Russ. I’ve had good conversations with Russ, and Sean has had good conversations. The door is open. We’ll get through the process, and we’ll visit with the coaching staff and scouting staff. We’ll visit with Russ and his people, and we’ll go from there.”

Paton also said that Wilson is open to returning.

It’s possible that Denver is being sincere. It’s also possible that the Broncos do not want to hurt any potential trade value that Wilson might have. It’s also possible that the team is open to Wilson returning on certain conditions, such as revising his contract (something the QB was unwilling to do in 2023).

Needless to say, all we can do at this point is speculate. Denver has maintained throughout the ordeal that it’s not (solely) about the money.

“The financial part of it is a significant component, in terms of how this works out in the future, but that’s not what will drive the decision,” team owner/CEO Gerg Penner said. “The decision will be driven by what’s in the best interest of this football team winning games.”

It should be noted that Wilson’s $37 million salary for the 2025 season is scheduled to become guaranteed on March 17. Despite the Broncos insisting that the QB decision is not money-motivated, it’s safe to assume the team will make a decision on Wilson’s future before that March 17 deadline.

Story originally appeared on Broncos Wire