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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Latest Sports News & Rumors: Tailored for You / Wilson reveals Broncos’ benching threat over contract modification

Wilson reveals Broncos’ benching threat over contract modification

Publish Date: 12/30/2023
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster

Denver Broncos star quarterback Russell Wilson recently revealed that his benching had been in the works for weeks.

Following the Broncos’ 24-9 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on October 29, team officials have approached Wilson to modify a salary guarantee in his contract. They also warned that refusal would result in Wilson being taken off the team for the remainder of the season.

“They came up to me during the bye week and beginning of the bye week, Monday or Tuesday, they told me if I didn’t change my contract, my injury guarantee, that I’d be benched the rest of the year,” Wilson said. “I was definitely disappointed about it.”

Subsequently, Broncos coach Sean Payton announced Wilson’s replacement on Wednesday. Backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham, with a limited experience of two starts in five seasons, will be playing in the upcoming Sunday’s home game against the Los Angeles Chargers. Payton has clarified that the decision was purely about winning and “to get a spark offensively.”

Low blow to Wilson

On Friday, Wilson disclosed that the Broncos initiated discussions about waiving a guarantee in his $242.6 million contract signed in 2022. The guarantee, linked to a physical examination in March, would secure an additional $37 million if he could not pass the physical.

Despite already having a guaranteed $39 million in 2024, the team sought adjustments to the guarantee’s timing. Wilson further revealed the benching threat persisted during the bye week, leaving him uncertain about his playing status.

Wilson remained the starter following wins over the Buffalo Bills, Minnesota Vikings and Cleveland Browns. However, recent losses, including one to the New England Patriots on December 25, led to his formal benching.

Distancing himself from contract discussions, Payton reiterated the decision’s focus on winning and deferred queries to general manager George Paton and owner/CEO Greg Penner.

Wilson characterized the discussions and benching threat as a “low blow” after the team achieved a 3-5 record. Looking ahead, the Broncos face a significant offseason decision regarding Wilson, considering limited draft picks and potential dead money charges of $85 million if he’s cut in 2024 or 2025.

While expressing hope for a future with the Broncos, Wilson acknowledged contemplating the possibility of an alternative outcome.

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