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Russell Wilson benched by the Broncos

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith threw his support behind the guy he replaced in the Emerald City. After the Denver Broncos benched quarterback Russell Wilson on Wednesday to set up a possible parting of the ways in the offseason, Smith tweeted the simple message “Free 3” in support for Wilson.

The Russell Wilson era isn’t officially over in Denver. But after being benched for Jarrett Stidham with two weeks left in the 2023 season in a move that’s equal parts cost conscious and bold statement, it’s not a stretch to suggest things are winding down to a conclusion. Less than two years after the Broncos made a massive splash by trading for, then extending, the perennial Pro Bowler, Denver is primed to put him in its rear view. Wilson was supposed to be the second coming of Peyton Manning.

The former Indianapolis Colt came to a franchise stuck in purgatory and led it to immediate success, culminating in a world title. Wilson wasn’t cut from the same cloth and was considerably more expensive to acquire from Seattle, but he had been an annual playoff participant with his own Super Bowl history. He was supposed to be the rocket boost that took a team in a six-year playoff drought back to green pastures. Instead, the 2022 Broncos were a disaster amidst Wilson’s struggles. Things were better in 2023, but while a 1-5 start gave way to an unlikely playoff push, three losses in the team’s last four games — the last coming against a bad New England Patriots team at home as a seven-point favorite — sealed Wilson’s fate this winter and likely beyond.

Russell Wilson Benched Final 2 Games, Ride Seems Done In Denver | Pat McAfee Reacts

The Broncos are going to take one on the chin.

The Broncos are going to take one on the chin if they decide to cut or trade Wilson in the offseason after giving up so much to get him, while the Seahawks will most likely start Smith again this fall after a solid year. It’s fascinating to see how these two franchises did after such a seismic trade as the Wilson one was back in 2022, but it’s clear that Smith has his predecessor’s back amid the turmoil.

Russell Wilson Benched: Social Media Pounces on Broncos GM George Paton.

The Russell Wilson era has seemingly ended for the Denver Broncos following news of his benching on December 27. Social media pounced on general manager George Paton with the blockbuster trade for the nine-time Pro Bowler officially deemed a failure.

“Can we please direct some of this hate at George Paton? It’s very obvious Russ needed an elite roster for the Broncos to be a contender. Outside of PS2, which was a no-brainer pick, the Broncos have no game breaking talent. It’s a bottom 10 roster in the NFL saved by coaching,” a commenter posted to X.

Sean Payton Opens Up on Why Broncos Benched Russell Wilson

The Denver Broncos have benched quarterback Russell Wilson. Just an hour or so after the blockbuster report hit the wire, Broncos head coach Sean Payton held court after Wednesday’s practice to confirm the news that Jarrett Stidham will start this week vs. the Los Angeles Chargers, and to explain his rationale for the decision. 

“Most of you know we’ve made a change at quarterback,” Payton said. “I understand all the speculation and everything that surrounds a move like that, and I can tell you, look, we’re desperately trying to win. Sure, in our game today, there are economics and all those other things, but the number one push behind all of this—and it’s a decision I’m making—is to get a spark offensively. Obviously, it’s difficult, and all of us feel like, ‘Man, we didn’t do well enough. ‘The Broncos’ offense has had a few good stretches of relative efficiency this season, but it’s mostly been a disjointed unit. That’s atypical of a Payton-coached offense. Wilson has improved in several key areas this season, but he’s still missing reads, holding onto the ball too long, and turning it over. With two very important games left to go, Payton, who understand the symbolism of benching Wilson, is erring on the side of sparking his offense, even if it takes an extreme personnel move. 

Is Sean Payton ‘not good enough’ for Denver Broncos?

As the Broncos move toward the conclusion of their first season with Sean Payton as head coach, all eyes and ears will continue to be on the question of whether the team will keep quarterback Russell Wilson through March 2024, when another $37 million becomes fully guaranteed.

Wilson evaded a question about his future after the Christmas Eve loss to the Patriots. While Payton wasn’t asked about it directly by reporters on Tuesday, a question about the consistency of the offense sparked a response that could be regarded as ominous. “So many times, when we look at some of that stuff, it’s self-inflicted problems,” Payton said.

“That has to get cleaned up. That’s communication. That might be having to reduce — is there too much in? Right now, we’re average to below average in a lot of things offensively, and it’s not good enough. “Given that Wilson is the straw that’s stirring the drink, the fact that the drink isn’t being stirred to the satisfaction of the chief bartender makes it a problem. Especially since there are only two chances remaining for getting things “cleaned up. “I think the ongoing step is understanding how not to lose games before you learn how to win them,” Payton later said. “Two-thirds of the games we see each weekend are lost before they’re ever won. We’re still learning that the hard way.”

Chris Broussard on Russell Wilson benching, 3 teams he could join

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