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NFL Exec Says Russell Wilson 'Is Washed' amid Sean Payton, Broncos HC Rumors

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 23, 2023

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - DECEMBER 04: Russell Wilson #3 of the Denver Broncos calls a play against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on December 04, 2022 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
G Fiume/Getty Images

One NFL team executive is already throwing in the towel on Denver Broncos star Russell Wilson.

The Athletic's Mike Sando spoke with an exec who weighed the positives and negatives of coaching the Broncos, with Wilson falling firmly in the latter category.

"Denver has the best tradition, and the new owners seem aggressive and willing to spend, but I think Wilson is washed, and the lack of draft capital is holding them back," the executive said. "The defense is very good, but Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert aren't going anywhere in that division."

Wilson's performance had declined slightly in 2021, but nobody foresaw his output cratering in 2022. He threw for 3,524 yards, 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 15 starts. The 34-year-old ranked 27th in QBR (37.0) at ESPN.com.

Beyond the raw numbers, Wilson's messy divorce from the Seattle Seahawks and the expediency with which he seemingly rubbed his Broncos teammates the wrong way don't bode well for the future.

Thanks to a five-year, $242.6 million extension, the nine-time Pro Bowler probably isn't going anywhere for now. Designating him as a post-June 1 cut would saddle the team with dead money hits of $39 million in 2023 and $68 million in 2024. Denver would have $17 million less to spend this offseason as well.

The challenges this situation presents haven't been enough to scare off arguably the biggest fish on the NFL coaching market. Jeff Duncan of NOLA.com reported Monday that Sean Payton is due to have a second interview with the Broncos.