Option bonus gives Broncos flexibility in splitting Russell Wilson cap charge

Over the next two years, the Broncos will take $85 million in cap charges for quarterback Russell Wilson. How they apportion the consequences between 2024 and 2025 remains to be seen.

The key factor is a $22 million option bonus due next week. The payment is guaranteed. The Broncos can prorate it over the next five years, or they decline to exercise it and let it become base salary.

If it's prorated, the cap charges will be $35.4 million this year and $49.6 million next year. If it isn't, they'll take $53 million this year and $32 million in 2025.

Given the ability of teams to freely carry cap space from one year to the next, the Broncos have to decide whether to take the bigger hit this year or next year. They have not yet decided what to do, we're told. It will be determined based on their broader plans for spending, cap management, and roster construction.

Either way, it's a massive, gigantic cap consequence for the Broncos over the next two years. That's the price they'll pay to avoid having another $37 million for 2025 become fully guaranteed on March 17, 2024.