Getty The Denver Broncos will deal with Russell Wilson’s $85 million dead money over two seasons.

It’s no longer a secret that the Denver Broncos are releasing Russell Wilson. The record-setting $85 million dead money associated with his departure is also common knowledge.

But according to The Denver Post’s Parker Gabriel, the Broncos have finalized Wilson’s dead money against the $255.4 million salary cap for 2024.

“Denver officially processed the release of quarterback Russell Wilson on Wednesday, the first day of the 2024 league year, and declined to pick up an option in the process. That decision means that Wilson will count $53 million against Denver’s salary cap in 2024 and $32 million in 2025,” Gabriel wrote on March 13.

The Broncos had several options in dealing with their former quarterback’s massive dead cap, which is more than double Matt Ryan’s previous record of $40.53 million. Instead, they refrained from picking up Wilson’s $17.6 million option for 2024, making it guaranteed money in cap allocations.

Picking up the option allowed the Broncos to push the $17.6 million in 2025, leading to lower dead money for Wilson this season. As Spotrac’s Michael Ginnitti wrote on February 18, “If Denver exercises the option bonus then designates him a Post June 1st release (before March 17th), they can push $17.6M of that cap into 2025, leading to a $35.4M dead hit in 2024, & a $49.6M hit in 2025.”

Meanwhile, Gabriel summarized the Broncos’ decision, “The Broncos are eating the larger chunk of Wilson’s record dead cap charge sooner rather than later. It will set Sean Payton’s team up with more flexibility in 2025 while saddling it with an additional $17.6 million dead cap charge this year.”

Broncos’ Busy 2024 Offseason Afforded Russell Wilson’s $53 Million Cap Charge

GettyRussell Wilson will count for $53 million against the Denver Broncos’ 2024 salary cap.

Denver Post columnist Sean Keeler called the Broncos’ 2024 offseason “The Payton Purge.” “Of the six Broncos named captains before Week 1 last season, three of them — Wilson, Simmons, and Kareem Jackson — are now off the roster,” Keeler wrote on March 12.

Justin Simmons’ release was one of the shocking decisions Denver made even before the 2024 league year officially started. But in doing so, the Broncos cleared $14.5 million in cap space by saying goodbye to the four-time Second Team All-Pro safety.

The purge continued by trading 2020 first-round pick Jerry Jeudy to the Cleveland Browns for fifth (No. 136 overall) and sixth-round (No. 203 overall) picks in the 2024 draft. In addition to getting additional picks, the Broncos cleared $12.99 million in cap space by trading the former Alabama standout.

The Broncos released tight end Chris Manhertz, getting $2.1 million of cap room.

In addition to those transactions, restructured contracts gave the Broncos $49 million in cap space before the March 11 tampering period for free agents began, per SBNation Mile High Report’s Tim Lynch.

Denver converted $13.875 million of right tackle Mike McGlinchey’s 2024 salary into a signing bonus to clear $11.1 million in cap space and add a void year to stretch the cap allocation.

They also brought back Tim Patrick on a one-year, $1.295 million restructured contract despite him skipping the 2022 and 2023 seasons due to a torn ACL and Achilles.

With some cash to spare, the Broncos signed strong safety P.J. Locke and placekicker Will Lutz to two-year contract extensions. Having some financial cushion afforded them Brandon Jones’ three-year, $20 million contract and Malcolm Roach’s two-year, $7 million deal.

Jason and Travis Kelce Believes Russell Wilson Makes the Steelers ‘Extremely Dangerous’

GettyRussell Wilson will join the Pittsburgh Steelers on a one-year, $1.2 million contract.

The Broncos will navigate Russell Wilson’s dead money even if he played 0 snaps under his five-year, $242.5 million contract extension.

Conversely, he moves on to the Pittsburgh Steelers on a one-year, $1.2 million contract, a move that the Kelce brothers lauded on the March 13 episode of the “New Heights” podcast.

“Russell gets to start fresh here in Pittsburgh, he’s had proven success in his past. Dude, this is like the only missing piece right now in Pittsburgh. If Russ is even close to the quarterback he used to be, this is an extremely dangerous team with what they’re working on the defensive side of the ball,” the All-Pro center who announced his retirement on March 4 said.

“I don’t even know about ‘what he used to be.’ That guy was still balling in Denver at times, man; I’ve seen him dissect some teams and make some good throws. I mean, we lost to Denver I think in Denver last year,” Travis Kelce recalled about the quarterback who finished with 26 touchdowns against 8 interceptions in 2023.

Meanwhile, the Broncos have $26.8 million in cap room heading into free agency, enough to find Wilson’s successor. Converting defensive end Zach Allen and guard Ben Powers’ 2024 salary into signing bonuses created $20 million in additional cap space.

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