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Russell Wilson signed a lucrative contract extension with the Denver Broncos before the 2022 season, but he was released by the team before that contract went into effect. The Broncos released Wilson when free agency opened up earlier this month, and he quickly found a new home with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Despite his release, the Broncos still owe Wilson $39 million for this season alone, adding to the $85 million they have already paid out of the $124 million he was guaranteed at signing. The team also faces a dead cap hit of $85 million over the next two years as a result of his release.

The decision to release Wilson despite the financial implications was deemed necessary by the Broncos. Head coach Sean Payton was blunt when asked if it was difficult to let Wilson go due to the dead cap hit and money owed, simply stating, “No.” Wilson was acquired by the Broncos in a blockbuster trade from the Seattle Seahawks before the 2022 season, giving up multiple draft picks and players in the deal. Despite Wilson’s performance, including 3,070 passing yards, 26 touchdown passes, and eight interceptions in 15 games during the 2023 season, he eventually lost his starting job to Jarrett Stidham.

In a surprising move, the Steelers also traded for quarterback Justin Fields, who is expected to back up Wilson initially. Many observers speculate that Fields may not remain in a backup role for long, if at all. The dynamic between Wilson and Fields in Pittsburgh will be closely watched as the team looks to find success in the upcoming season. Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos contributed to the report, offering insights on the latest developments in the NFL. Fans can stay updated on sports news by following Fox News Digital’s coverage on various platforms and subscribing to the Fox News Sports Huddle newsletter for more in-depth analysis and updates.

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