Another Veteran QB Will Become a Free Agent

Jun 6, 2022; Englewood, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) during OTA workouts at the UC Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

This offseason, a number of veteran QBs across the league are headed towards free agency.

This list, of course, includes Vikings starter Kirk Cousins, who hits the open market for the first time since heading to Minnesota in 2018. Other names on that list of free agent NFL quarterbacks include Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, Gardner Minshew, and Ryan Tannehill.

As of Monday evening, another quarterback is officially headed towards the free agency market: Russell Wilson.

Another Veteran QB Heads to Free Agency

Nov 19, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) reacts after the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network had the scoop, tweeting, “Sources: The #Broncos are moving on from QB Russell Wilson, closing a tough chapter for the team and allowing coach Sean Payton and Wilson to start fresh. Wilson is available for a team needing a starter. Denver avoids an extra $37M fully guaranteed now.”

The Broncos later confirmed the decision with a tweet of their own, “We’ve notified QB Russell Wilson that he will be released after the league year begins March 13.” It included a statement from head coach Sean Payton and GM George Paton which read:

“We spoke with Russell Wilson today to inform him of his release after the start of the league year. On behalf of the Broncos, we thank Russell for his contributions and dedication to our team and community while wishing him the best as he continues his career. As we move forward, we are focused on building the strongest team possible for the 2024 season and beyond. We are excited to improve this offseason and will have the flexibility to get better through the draft and free agency.”

Veteran QB
Dec 24, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) prepares to pass in the first half against the New England Patriots at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The release of Wilson by Denver means that the Broncos will take on an historic amount of dead money, totaling $85 million over the next two years. Assuming that Wilson is designated as a post-June 1st cut, the Broncos will take on $35.4 million against the salary cap in 2024 and $49.6 million in 2025.

This comes as a result of the monster contract extension that Denver signed Wilson to after acquiring him. It was worth a total of $245 million over five seasons. On top of that contract, the Broncos sent the Seattle Seahawks two first-round picks, two second-round picks, TE Noah Fant, DE Shelby Harris, and QB Drew Lock.

Considering many have expected Wilson to be released for some time now, the quarterback has been connected to the Vikings as a potential starting option in 2024 for a couple of reasons. Not only is he still a capable passer (throwing for 3070 yards and 26 TDs this past season), but he could come at a very cheap price point this season.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Denver Broncos
Sep 25, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) recovers a fumble ahead of San Francisco 49ers defensive end Kerry Hyder Jr. (92) and defensive tackle Kevin Givens (90) and safety Tashaun Gipson Sr. (31) in the third quarter at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Seeing as the Broncos still owe Wilson $39.6 million in cash for this season, some have theorized that the quarterback could sign a league minimum deal with his new team in 2024. If that were to be the case, and the Vikings do indeed move on from Cousins, Wilson could be a hypothetical option as a bridge QB as they try to find their next franchise player at the position.

Wilson will turn 36 years old in November.

Editor’s Note: Contractual information for this article was found via Over the Cap.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.