Russell Wilson might return to the Denver Broncos after all.
The Super Bowl-winning signal-caller appeared headed for a Broncos divorce following a second consecutive underwhelming season after a blockbuster trade between Denver and the Seattle Seahawks.
NFL Network Insiders reported early Sunday morning that plans may change as the Broncos head into Sean Payton’s second season as head coach.
“The Broncos are keeping all options on the table at QB — including the possibility of reopening talks with Russell Wilson about restructuring his contract to keep him in Denver for 2024,” NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo noted in a story Sunday.
Wilson, who turned 35 in November, is set to make a fully guaranteed $39 million and another $37 million guaranteed for injury in the following 2025 campaign, which would become fully guaranteed if he remains on the roster by March 17 of this year, appeared to be why he was benched for the final two games of the 2023 season.
The Broncos had previously approached Wilson during the bye week about pushing back the March 17 date.
Wilson and his agent then notified the NFL Players Association.
“Yeah, we beat the Chiefs, they came up to me during the bye week, beginning of the bye week, Monday or Tuesday, and they told me that if I didn’t change my contract, my injury guarantee, that I’d be benched for the rest of the year,” Wilson said in a media session on Dec. 29, shortly after being benched.
“And we had nine games left or so. I was definitely disappointed about it, and it was a process throughout the whole week, for the whole bye week.”
The possibility of Wilson returning on a restructured contract doesn’t appear to be a large one, NFL Network reports, but their insiders note that “the team could take another run at tweaking the contract if Wilson is open to staying and better options don’t materialize for either side.”
Payton, while on radio row for Super Bowl 2024 this week, said that the Broncos will begin draft meetings on Monday, immediately after the end of the season.
He said a decision on Wilson’s future is a priority.
Jarrett Stidham, who started for the Broncos after Wilson’s benching, is under contract for the 2024 season, the last of a two-year, $10 million deal signed last off-season.
Wilson, who made 15 starts for the Broncos this past season, had a much better campaign than his initial 2022 run in Denver.
Wilson completed 66.4 percent of his passes, throwing for 3,070 passing yards, 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
In 2022, he completed a career-worst 60.5%, accumulated 3,524 passing yards, a career-low 16 touchdown passes and recorded 11 interceptions while also making 15 starts.
The Broncos, who went 8-9 this past season — 7-8 in games Wilson started — have the No. 12 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.
The team made a three-game improvement from finishing 5-12 in 2022.