Should Broncos fans have faith in Denver’s front office?
4 mins read

Should Broncos fans have faith in Denver’s front office?

Nathaniel Hackett is who we thought he was, and the last time head coach Sean Payton won a ring the sports world was still a month away from being introduced to Brad Stevens and the Butler Bulldogs. Putting the Denver Broncos’ mistakes all on Russell Wilson’s shoulders is a cowardly move.

At a time in which any chatter concerning the NFL should be solely focused on the upcoming draft, the Broncos have forced themselves into the conversation by announcing the release of Wilson and taking on the biggest dead money hit in league history — $85 million.

“We spoke with Russell Wilson [Monday] to inform him of his release after the start of the league year [March 13, 4 p.m. ET],” Payton and GM George Paton said in a joint statement. “On behalf of the Broncos, we thank Russell for his contributions and dedication to our team and community while wishing him the best as he continues his career. As we move forward, we are focused on building the strongest team possible for the 2024 season and beyond. We are excited to improve this offseason and will have the flexibility to get better through the draft and free agency.”

In 2022, Wilson signed a five-year, $242.5 million contract extension with Denver. Wilson had $161 million in total guarantees, with $124 million of it guaranteed at signing. He’s walking away with a ton of money, as he hopes to find another home elsewhere. However, the decision that the franchise took to go all in on the Super Bowl champion and nine-time Pro Bowler cleaned them out.

According to the Sporting News, this is what they gave up to get him in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks:

  • QB Drew Lock
  • DT Shelby Harris
  • TE Noah Fant
  • 2022 first-round pick (OT Charles Cross, Mississippi State)
  • 2022 second-round pick (OLB Boye Mafe, Minnesota)
  • 2022 fifth-round pick (OLB Tyreke Smith, Ohio State)
  • 2023 first-round pick (CB Devon Witherspoon, Illinois)
  • 2023 second-round pick (EDGE Derick Hall, Auburn)

It really hits home when it’s in list form.

But, it’s not like players are the only thing Denver has wasted money on. When the Broncos fired Nathaniel Hackett 15 games (4-11) into the 2022 season, because he had become the laughingstock of coaching, it was reported that he was going to make almost $4 million that season. The Broncos never disclosed all the details of Hackett’s deal. And for now, the Broncos are on the hook for reportedly between $17 million and $20 million per season with Payton, as his contract could earn him $100 in five years. We know the Broncos have a new owner that’s worth around $60 billion, but it isn’t an excuse for this amount of waste.

With Wilson gone, the Broncos will begin another search to find a franchise quarterback, which has been the foundation of their issues given who the team has signed over the years. Denver has had 13 different starting QBs since Peyton Manning was in uniform. According to Yahoo Sports, this is the list, along with the QBs’ win-loss records:

  • Trevor Siemian: (13-11)
  • Paxton Lynch: (1-3)
  • Brock Osweiler: (0-4)
  • Case Keenum: (6-10)
  • Joe Flacco: (2-6)
  • Brandon Allen: (1-2)
  • Jeff Driskel: (0-1)
  • Brett Rypien: (2-1)
  • Drew Lock: (8-13)
  • Kendall Hinton: (0-1)
  • Teddy Bridgewater: (7-7)
  • Russell Wilson: (11-19)
  • Jarrett Stidham: (1-1)

This is what mismanagement looks like.

The last time the Denver Broncos made the playoffs was when they won Super Bowl 50 over Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers behind a monster defense, as Peyton Manning was just along for the ride. Since then, they’ve had five head coaches in total — four real ones and one interim. With that type of turnover in the QB room and on the sidelines, it’s easy to see why the Broncos are what they’ve become. But what’s even easier to realize is that nothing will change until the front office improves.

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