The Russell Wilson trade stacks up as one of the Worst All Time, and Denver Broncos fans(they are sick) may never recover from this big hit

The final cost of the Russell Wilson trade will make Broncos fans sick
from Michael Gallagher, with

The NFL’s worst-kept secret was finally confirmed on Monday when the Denver Broncos informed quarterback Russell Wilson that he would be released once the new NFL year begins on March 13.

With both parties moving on, the final tally of the Wilson-to-Denver deal may haunt Broncos fans for quite a while.

Denver traded the No. 9, 40 and 145 overall picks in the 2022 draft, the No. 5 and 37 overall picks in the 2023 draft, tight end Noah Fant, defensive tackle Shelby Harris and quarterback Drew Lock to Seattle for Wilson — a deal that also cost the Broncos $124.02M (Wilson’s salary from 2022 and 2023) plus $85M in dead cap to get rid of him.

With the picks the Seahawks acquired from Denver, they drafted Pro Bowl cornerback Devon Witherspoon (57.4 completion percentage allowed, 10 pass break-ups, one interception in 2023), edge-rusher Boye Mafe (58 pressures, 42 hurries, nine sacks in 2023), offensive tackle Charles Cross (31 starts, 1,980 snaps at left tackle) and linebackers Derick Hall and Tyreke Smith (now on the Cardinals).

The Broncos missed out on plenty of talented players in the 2022 draft including receivers Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, safety Kyle Hamilton, cornerback Trent McDuffie, offensive tackle Tyler Smith, edge-rusher Jermaine Johnson (all Round 1) plus running backs Kenneth Walker and James Cook, cornerback Alontae Taylor, safety Jaquan Brisker and receiver George Pickens.

Denver also missed out on plenty of talent in the 2023 draft as well, including several players that would fill areas of need for the team now like QB Will Levis, RB Bijan Robinson, DT Jalen Carter, OTs Paris Johnson and Broderick Jones, CB Christian Gonzalez and TE Dalton Kincaid.

While not an ideal situation, the Broncos did free up a roster spot for them to pursue a new QB for head coach Sean Payton to build around, and it removes the distraction of having Wilson ride the bench while collecting a hefty paycheck.

Because of the league’s unprecedented $255.4M salary cap in 2024, cutting ties with Wilson became easier for the Broncos to wrap their minds around.

Instead of trying absorb all of Wilson’s $85M in dead cap this season, Denver will likely eat $35.4M of it in 2024 (the salary it would be paying Wilson anyway if he were playing) and push $49.6M to 2025.