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Who will be the Broncos QB in 2023 and beyond?

We discuss the different quarterback options for the Broncos in 2023.

Russell Wilson #3 of the Denver Broncos warms up before the game against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium on December 25, 2022 in Inglewood, California. Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos are taking on the Los Angeles Rams in Week 16 of the NFL season. This season has had a number of firsts including the first season for new Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett and quarterback Russell Wilson. It hasn’t gone as planned as Denver has a 4-10 record, is in last place in the AFC West and has already been eliminated from playoff contention.

With the season falling well below expectations, it wouldn’t be surprising if Hackett is shown the door at the end of the year. While a head coach search is expected, could the Broncos be looking for a new solution under center?

The problem with Wilson is that he has been brutally bad, and he has a brutally bad contract. Denver made the bright decision to not only trade for the quarterback but immediately signed him to a five-year extension. Wilson is set to make $8 million in 2023, but that jumps to $17 million in 2024 and $37 million in 2025. There is no guaranteed money after 2024, but the massive signing bonus Wilson received creates huge problems for potential dead money. After this season, the team has $107 million in dead money to deal with.

The earliest they could reasonable release him is after the 2024 season. After that, there is a potential out in 2026 (that the team should plan on taking if this performance continues) before his salary jumps to $40 million, $44 million and $50 million per year from 2026-2028.

Wilson has played in 12 games this season ahead of Week 16. He has completed 60.4% of his passes for 2,805 yards with 11 touchdowns and six interceptions. Even if his stats don’t rank poorly amongst his peers, his quarterback rating ranks him 29th in the NFL. You can blame the offensive line, and you can blame injuries, but still, Wilson could almost not have underperformed in his first year with the team more than he has.

If the Broncos decide that this season isn’t a fluke and want to move on from Wilson, what options do they have? Well, they can’t really afford to cut him, so they would have to find a team willing to watch what Wilson has done this year and think “yes, I want that quarterback and his massive contract.”

Their best bet is likely bringing in a player to be his backup as a backup plan if they have to eventually bench him. Upcoming free agents that Denver could target include guys like Jacoby Brissett and Mason Rudolph. You don’t feel great about the options, but they’ve shown they can win games in the NFL and have been given chances to develop. These two quarterbacks will also likely have a price tag the Broncos could deal with.

Whatever they decide to do, Wilson hasn’t proved this year that he is the solution they thought he was, and the Broncos may need to look into some alternative options.