Broncos’ Russell Wilson says team warned him about benching during bye week, asked him to change contract


Earlier this week, it was reported that Super Bowl winner Russell Wilson will likely sit on the Denver Broncos’ bench for the remainder of the season. On Friday, Wilson revealed the team gave him an ultimatum about his benching a couple of weeks ago.

According to Wilson, the conversation revolved around the guarantee against injury in his five-year, $245 million contract he signed last year. The contract kicks in next season.

Wilson has an estimated $37 million in 2025 salary that becomes fully vested in March. If the quarterback suffers a significant injury at any point this season, it would complicate the financial situation, NFL Network reported.

Wilson spoke to the media after a practice Friday, revealing the team approached him during the bye in Week 9. 

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Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) after a win against the Los Angeles Chargers at Empower Field at Mile High Jan. 8, 2023, in Denver, Colo.  (Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“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,” he said. 

Denver will host the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday, and Wilson is expected to serve as the backup to Jarrett Stidham.

Wilson added that, at some point, the players union learned about the situation. 

“I was definitely disappointed about it,” Wilson said. “It was a process for the whole bye week. We had just come off beating the Chiefs. I was excited for us fighting for the playoffs and getting on a hot streak. The NFLPA and NFL got involved or whatever at some point.”

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Wilson lifted the team to three straight wins after the bye week before the Broncos dropped three of their last four to fall to 7-8. The Broncos need to win out and have the Chiefs lose their last two games to make the postseason for the first time since winning the Super Bowl following the 2015 season.

Russell Wilson vs Patriots

Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson exits the field after losing to the New England Patriots 26-23 at Empower Field at Mile High in Denver, Colo., Dec. 24, 2023. (Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

“It definitely hurt. It was a low blow for a bit,” Wilson said of the contract request by the team. “At the end of the day, I just want to keep my head down and try to do what I can do each play, each game, each moment.”

On Thursday, Wilson wrote a short post on X, formerly Twitter.

“God’s got me,” he wrote. “Looking forward to what’s next.”

Russell Wilson goes off the field

Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson acknowledges the fans as he leaves the field after a game against the Los Angeles Chargers Dec. 10, 2023, in Inglewood, Calif.  (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

First-year Broncos coach Sean Payton said he understood all the financial implications surrounding the decision to sit the veteran quarterback but said the goal was to still qualify for the postseason.

“I understand all the speculation and everything that surrounds a move like that, and I can tell you we’re desperately trying to win,” he said. “Sure, in our game today there are economics and all those other things, but the No. 1 push behind this … is to get a spark offensively.”

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Wilson will focus on helping Stidham instead of worrying about his future with the team.

“Every day you wake up, you realize it’s a gift to play this game,” Wilson said. “I’m grateful for that. I hope that it’s here. And I hope that it’s here for a long time. If it’s not here, then I’ll be prepared to do that somewhere else. But I hope that it’s here.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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