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Report: Broncos Bench Russell Wilson for Final Two Games

Russ might have played his final snap in Denver.

Out of fear of financial repercussion, and with the team all but eliminated from playoff contention, the Denver Broncos have benched quarterback Russell Wilson for the final two games of the regular season, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday.

Jarrett Stidham will start in Weeks 17 and 18 against the Chargers and Raiders, respectively.

As ESPN insider Adam Schefter explained, the decision to sit Wilson, 35, was made with his contract in mind. The Broncos are clearly readying for a potential divorce and don't want to pay the $245 million passer any more than they're already on the hook for.

Russell Wilson already has $39 million guaranteed for 2024, but he has an additional $37M that would become guaranteed if he can’t pass a physical by early March. Denver’s move to sit him assures that money won’t trigger.

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The move comes 72 hours after Denver suffered an embarrassing home loss to the lowly Patriots in which Wilson threw for 238 yards and two touchdowns — nearly all in the fourth quarter, trailing by double digits. The offense was mostly unwatchable until that point with some speculating that head coach/offensive play-caller Sean Payton was hamstrung by Wilson's limitations.

For his part, Payton gave no immediate indication he was considering yanking Wilson from the starting lineup.

“I was proud of how he battled, especially when we were down two touchdowns," he said in his post-game presser. "He is fighting and gets us back in it. It is difficult to do and yet he did it in pretty timely fashion.”

Following a brutal maiden voyage, Wilson was enjoying a solid sophomore campaign in the Mile High City, completing 66.4% of his attempts for 3,070 yards, 26 TDs, and eight interceptions while adding three rushing scores. But his production has plummeted over the last four weeks; the Broncos went 1-3 across that stretch and ultimately forced Payton's hand.

Wilson is expected to dress as the No. 2 QB for Sunday's contest versus Los Angeles, per NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.

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