Category: Atlanta Falcons

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Should Russell Wilson Play for the Vet Minimum?

Last week, the Denver Broncos released Russell Wilson and took a massive cap hit to part ways with the veteran quarterback. The Broncos still owe Wilson his guaranteed money and that will make Wilson a very rich man. With the income already secure, the question should be posed: should Russell Wilson take a discount for his next team?

Wilson won a Super Bowl in Seattle and was traded a few years later in March 2022 to the Denver Broncos. Most would concur this was a lop-sided trade.

BRONCOS receive: Russell Wilson, ’22 4th-round pick (Eyioma Uwazurike)

SEAHAWKS receive: Drew Lock, Noah Fant, Shelby Harris, ’22 1st-round pick (Charles Cross), ’23 1st-round pick (Devon Witherspoon), ’22 2nd-round pick (Boye Mafe), ’23 2nd-round pick (Derick Hall), and ’22 5th-round pick (traded)

When the Broncos sent all those assets over, I imagine they didn’t expect to release Wilson just two years later. The worst part of it all is the money Denver will be paying Russell Wilson to not play on the Broncos. This divorce wasn’t foreseen by either parties when Wilson signed a 5-year, $242.5 million extension in September 2022.

Wilson gets a nice severance package of 39 million this season, brought to you by the Denver Broncos. What us common folk would do to get that money from our former employers, right?

What makes the contract interesting is whatever team Russell Wilson signs with, that amount will be offset. For example, if Russell Wilson signs a contract for $10 million, he still gets $39 million total but the Broncos only pay $29 million. So Wilson won’t earn any extra money by signing with a team.

This matters. Since Wilson’s stock has fallen in Denver, he likely won’t be signing a contract over $40 million this year. Teams can sign Russell Wilson to any amount they wish, including the veteran minimum at around $1.21 million. In today’s age, that is a STEAL at the quarterback position.

For any team needing a quarterback, that’s a low-risk, high-reward you’re willing to gamble on. Obtaining Russell Wilson at such a low price allows open cap space and flexibility for a team wanting to compete now. This is San Francisco’s strategy playing “Mr. Irrelevant” Brock Purdy with a loaded 49ers offense and defense which propelled the 49ers to the Super Bowl last month. Purdy has only a $1.004 million cap hit in 2024. The recipe works if you have someone who can be functional in that quarterback position.

This is almost ideal for Russell Wilson. He can go somewhere with the available cap room so his new team can pursue free agents and surround him with talent. Wilson never got that opportunity in Denver, because he was eating up such a large amount of cap space. But at the same time, is the team committed to Russell Wilson as the starter? At his age and with his credentials, Wilson doesn’t want to be a backup. You could find a situation where Wilson gets signed, the team drafts a quarterback, and we see the rookie starting by October. And because Wilson would be playing on the vet minimum, the team doesn’t have the financial investment to keep Wilson as the starting quarterback.

Several teams are looking for a new quarterback, and I mentioned in my Quarterback Roulette article on, one team who could pursue Russell Wilson this offseason is the Atlanta Falcons. Teams such as the Vikings, Steelers, Raiders, and Patriots, among others, are also looking for their starter in 2024. As recently as Thursday the Steelers are reportedly hosting Wilson for a visit. Let the bidding begin.

If I was to advise Russell Wilson; go find yourself a team with a lot of cap space, sign for the vet minimum, and prove during training camp you are the Prime Russell Wilson we enjoyed watching those years in Seattle. Let’s Ride… somewhere else.


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