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Russell Wilson Confirms Broncos Benched Him After Demanding He Change His Contract | TheSportsDay Russell Wilson Confirms Broncos Benched Him After Demanding He Change His Contract | TheSportsDay

Russell Wilson confirms Broncos benched him after demanding he change his contract

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Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson speaks during a news conference after an NFL football game at Empower Field at Mile High, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton spoke to reporters Friday about Russell Wilson’s benching and maintained his story about it being a football move. Moments later, the quarterback flipped the script.

Wilson wasn’t scheduled to address the media. But when approached in the locker room, he took the opportunity to confirm reports that Denver’s front office told him he would be benched for the team’s final nine games unless he agreed to delay a contract trigger guaranteeing his 2025 salary.

“They came up to me during the bye week and beginning of the bye week, Monday or Tuesday, they told me if I didn’t change my contract, my injury guarantee, that I’d be benched the rest of the year,” Wilson said. “I was definitely disappointed about it. It was a process for the whole bye week. We had just come off beating the Chiefs, I was excited for us fighting for the playoffs and getting on a hot streak. Then the NFLPA and NFL got involved or whatever at some point.”

The 35-year-old was candid about his feelings on the situation. Even if he wasn’t, the emotion is all over his face:

His $37 million salary for 2025 becomes fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the 2024 league year, according to Spotrac. Even if he sustained a major injury in the final weeks of the current season, the $37 million would still be owed to him. The Broncos were always going to be faced with a difficult predicament this offseason, as the team signed Wilson to a five-year extension worth about $242 million before the start of his first season in orange and blue.

Wilson’s mention of the NFL and NFLPA stands out, as neither organization has released statements of acknowledgment or involvement in his situation. Lawyers from the player’s union were brought in before Wilson decided not to change his contract, Diana Russini of The Athletic reported Wednesday.

Russini also said Wilson, for two months, has been expecting the Broncos to cut him in March. On Friday, he expressed his desire to remain in Denver.

“I came here to play here, to win. I knew it was going to be a process. I signed a seven-year deal,” Wilson said. “I want to be here, I want to play here, I want to win championships here.”

He can’t do that without Payton’s favor, which he doesn’t seem to have. Since confirming Jarrett Stidham would start on Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers, the head coach has only publicly said Wilson was demoted in an effort to win games. He held on to that claim Friday, saying he “is not privy” to any conversations between Wilson and the front office.

“Getting to this eighth win is important,” Payton added.

Wilson, a 9-time Pro Bowl signal, caller has 3,070 yards, 26 touchdowns, eight interceptions and a 98 passer rating this season.

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