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Salary Cap Ramifications for Broncos After Russell Wilson Release

Denver Broncos plan to release quarterback Russell Wilson after March 13, spreading $85 million "dead money" over two years. Potential QB replacements.

The Denver Broncos made a big announcement on Monday, revealing their plans to part ways with quarterback Russell Wilson. However, this move won't be official until after the NFL's new league year kicks off on March 13. Contract experts Joel Corry and Michael Ginnitti highlighted on Twitter that the Broncos are waiting until this date for a couple of reasons. First, they can designate the cut as a post-June 1 release, and secondly, they can exercise his option bonus and spread it out over two years.

It's a costly decision for the Broncos, as they will have to absorb $85 million in "dead money" from Wilson's contract. However, they can soften the blow by spreading it over two years with the post-June 1 designation. This means that Denver will face cap hits of $35.4 million in 2024 and $49.6 million in 2025 before finally being free of Wilson's contract in 2026.

Despite the hefty cap hit, Wilson's release doesn't put the Broncos in a worse position financially, as they were already over the cap by about $14 million. With Wilson now free to sign with any team, there is a possibility for Denver to gain some cap relief if his next team offers him a lucrative contract. For instance, if Wilson were to be paid $10 million by his new team, his $35.4 million cap hit with the Broncos in 2024 would decrease to $25.4 million.

However, it's unlikely that Wilson will command a high salary from his next team, considering he will still be paid by Denver regardless. It would make more sense for him to sign for a bargain, possibly for the league minimum of $1.21 million, to benefit his new team and put the Broncos in a tough spot.

With Wilson out of the picture, the Broncos will now be on the hunt for a new quarterback. They are expected to explore the free agent market in March and also have the 12th overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft in April. It wouldn't be surprising to see Denver pursue multiple QB options by signing a free agent this month and selecting a signal caller in the draft.

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