It appears the Russell Wilson era of the Denver Broncos is over. Was the massive loss to the Detroit Lions at Ford Field just too much for Sean Payton? Or, maybe it was the Broncos’ loss to the New England Patriots last Sunday (Dec. 24), because that was extra embarrassing. Who knows what was the straw that broke the camel’s back, but Wilson is out.

Denver Broncos Bench Russell Wilson

“Rather than get into the specifics — because I think that would be unfair today — it’s more about what we weren’t doing effectively enough offensively,” Payton told reporters regarding the decision. “When we were getting two or three turnovers, that’s one thing. Ultimately, our job is to get the ball in the end zone, and we have to be more efficient doing that — all of us.”

Payton added that he felt it was his best choice, since he couldn’t switch up the entire offensive line at this point in the season.

“I can’t replace the entire offensive line. I can’t bring in five new receivers,” Payton said. “If it continues over a period of time, there will be another guy here talking to you, as well. These are difficult decisions. Obviously, there’s more attention when it’s the quarterback who’s under contract, but different than maybe earlier decisions we’ve made with last year’s prior starters.”

So, what kind of money was Wilson getting? In September of 2022, he signed a five-year extension worth a reported $245 million, which will reportedly start next season. That’s a huge financial loss to bench someone like that.

But, Payton said even with the money situation, he’s just trying to do what he needs to do to win. “I can tell you we’re desperately trying to win,” he said. “Sure, in our game today there are economics and all those other things, but the No. 1 push behind this — and it’s a decision I’m making — is to get a spark offensively.”

Jarrett Stidham, Payton said, will start as quarterback for the final two games of the season. The Broncos signed Stidham as a free agent during the past offseason. He was originally a fourth-round draft pick of the New England Patriots in 2019 from Auburn University.

Wilson is a nine-time Pro Bowler. The Broncos’ current record is 7-8. he’s thrown for 3,070 yards, 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions this season.

Wilson was traded to the Broncos ahead of the the 2022 season. He spent a decade with the Seattle Seahawks and was their quarterback when the Seahawks won Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014.

Russell Wilson’s Classy Response to Being Benched By the Broncos

On Wednesday (Dec. 27), Wilson took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to make the first public comment since being benched. He’s a man of faith, so tweeting out Bible verses is the norm for him. This time, he posted, “God’s got me. Looking forward to what’s next.”

Now, there are rumors out there that the Broncos are trying to get out of their contract with Wilson. So far, there’s no evidence to really support that, but I hope it’s not true. If the Broncos want to go ahead without Wilson, that’s fine, but give the man what he was promises.