Here are the salary cap ramifications for Broncos after Russell Wilson’s release

The Denver Broncos announced Monday that they plan to release quarterback Russell Wilson.

The release will not become official until after the NFL’s new league year begins on March 13. As contract gurus Joel Corry and Michael Ginnitti pointed out on Twitter/X, Denver will wait until that date for two seasons: (1) that’s when the cut can be designated as a post-June 1 release and (2) the team can exercise his option bonus and spread it over two years.

The Broncos will have to eat $85 million worth of “dead money” in Wilson’s contract, but they can spread that over two years with a post-June 1 designation. Denver will be left with cap hits of $35.4 million in 2024 and $49.6 million in 2025 before being free of the QB’s contract in 2026.

Because the quarterback was already going to have a $35.4 million salary cap hit this season, his release technically does not put the team in a bigger cap hole than they already were (the Broncos are about $14 million over the cap).

Wilson will now be free to sign with any team and Denver could — in theory — get some cap relief if the QB’s next team gives him a big contract. If for example, Wilson’s next team paid him $10 million, his $35.4 million cap hit with the Broncos in 2024 would decrease to $25.4 million.

Such a scenario is unlikely to happen, though, because Wilson will be paid by Denver no matter what, so it makes more sense for him to give his next team a bargain, perhaps signing for the league minimum ($1.21 million). That would help out his next club while sticking it to the Broncos, and he’ll get paid regardless, so it’s the most likely outcome.

Denver will now search for a replacement. The Broncos will undoubtedly consider the free agent market this month. Next month, Denver will hold the 12th overall pick in the NFL draft. It would not be surprising to see the Broncos double-dip on QBs this spring by signing a free agent in March and later drafting another signal caller in April.

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Story originally appeared on Broncos Wire