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Is Russell Wilson done in Denver? Sean Payton benched him for the remainder of the season

The Denver Broncos are shaking things up as they head into the final stretch of the season. According to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, the Broncos have decided to bench Russell Wilson for their last two games. This means that Jarrett Stidham will be getting his first start for the team this Sunday against the Chargers, with Wilson serving as the backup for Week 17.

Rapoport also highlighted a key financial aspect behind this decision, stating that Wilson has a significant injury guarantee for 2025 that becomes fully guaranteed in March. By benching him for the final two games, the Broncos aim to protect themselves from potential financial constraints should they decide to part ways with Wilson in 2024. This move strongly suggests that the Broncos may be looking to move on from the 35-year-old quarterback after two seasons.

The decision to bench Wilson comes at a crucial time for the Broncos, who have been struggling in recent weeks after initially showing promise. Despite a strong start that saw them overcome a 1-5 hole, the team has faltered in their playoff pursuit by losing three of their last four games, including a recent defeat to New England.

In his 15 starts this year, Wilson has had mixed performances, completing 66.44 percent of his passes for 3,070 yards with 26 touchdown passes and eight interceptions. Once seen as the missing piece to propel the Broncos back into playoff contention, Wilson's potential departure is likely to be viewed as a major disappointment.

Payton is looking forward to the 2024 season

The decision to start Stidham in place of Wilson reflects Coach Sean Payton's readiness to evaluate options for the upcoming 2024 season. With only an 8% chance of making the playoffs, according to Next Gen Stats, the Broncos are in a tough spot. They will need Stidham to step up and lead them to victories in their remaining games against the Chargers and Raiders while also relying on some external help.

This move echoes a similar tactic employed by the Las Vegas Raiders last season when they benched Derek Carr in favor of Stidham. Now, with Stidham taking over in Denver, it's an opportunity for him to showcase his skills and potentially shape the team's future under Payton's guidance.

The decision to bench Wilson is not only about protecting his health but also serves as an indication of the team's readiness to look ahead and make evaluations for the upcoming season.

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