According to Bleacher Report’s NFL insider Jordan Schultz, he is reporting that the Denver Broncos threatened to bench quarterback Russell Wilson weeks ago if he did not remove his injury guarantees.
Schultz continues by saying that this move is purely financially driven and has been in place for weeks according to multiple people with direct knowledge of the situation. The initial reports, likely team/Broncos driven indicated that this move is simply to ‘spark’ the offense but this report paints a much different picture.
Sources to @BleacherReport: The #Broncos threatened to bench Russell Wilson weeks ago if he didn’t remove his injury guarantees.— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) December 27, 2023
Russell Wilson’s benching by the Broncos today is solely financially related and has been in the works for weeks, per multiple sources with direct… pic.twitter.com/pmq172Cm1H
This whole process began after the Broncos' surprising upset defeat of the Kansas City Chiefs on October 29th. Schultz states that the team approached Wilson two days after that game and told him he would be inactive for the rest of the season if he did not adjust his contract and remove the injury guarantees.
“The Broncos approached Wilson two days after their October 29 upset win over the Kansas City Chiefs and told him he would be made inactive for the rest of the season if he did not adjust his contract and defer the injury guarantee trigger date that he has for 2025. Wilson has $37 million in injury guarantees for 2025 that will become guaranteed no matter what on the fifth day of the 2024 league year in March.”
According to the Schultz report, Wilson was ‘shocked” by this and the two sides got into a major dispute about how to proceed for the remainder of the season. The Broncos, Wilson’s camp, the NFLPA, and an unknown party were all involved in talks and negotiations that eventually ended in no changes being made to Wilson’s contract.
When the threat was made by the Broncos, the team, Wilson’s camp, the NFLPA, and another unknown party were involved in negotiations that ended with no change in Wilson’s contract
Now, with the Broncos going 1-3 in their past four games, struggling on offense, and all but eliminated from postseason action, the team decided to go through with their original plans according to this report.
This is a surprising report that seems to be coming from Russell Wilson’s side of things. Schultz points out Wilson’s stats and mentions wins vs. the Bills and Vikings on primetime and against the Browns top-ranked defense which all are highlights from Wilson’s season. It also goes against the initial report which likely came from the team that stated this was purely a football move.
In the end, we may never know the full truth here but it is clear the two sides likely have had some sort of falling out and a divorce is coming. Sean Payton and Russell Wilson were a weird fit from the beginning both when it comes to scheme and style and even more on the personality side of things. The behind-the-scenes tension, if true, is not surprising, and it is also not surprising that the Broncos wanted to protect themselves against these injury guarantees.
With how this is playing out, I am sure more and more will leak out now that the two-sides are apparently having a public falling out.
Denver 7’s Troy Renck has confirmed Schultz’s report about the Broncos wanting Wilson to remove his injury guarantees.
Confirmed Jordan's report. #Broncos wanted to move back injury guarantee date of fifth date of league year this offseason. They wanted to push it back with it feeling like intention was to have Wilson compete for job in training camp in 2024 without guaranteeing him the 2025… https://t.co/QI3T1iuO3V— Troy Renck (@TroyRenck) December 27, 2023
Renck adds the Broncos wanted Wilson to remove the guarantees with the intention of Wilson competing for the starting job during training camp.