The inevitable has happened. Quarterback Russell Wilson is being released by the Denver Broncos, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. A split was essentially guaranteed after a tense and bizarre end to last season, which saw the Super Bowl 48 champion get benched.

“We spoke with Russell Wilson today to inform him of his release after the start of the new league year (March 13),” Denver general manager George Paton and head coach Sean Payton wrote in a joint statement. “On behalf of the Broncos, we thank Russell for his contributions and dedications to our team and community while wishing him the best as he continues his career.”

Denver is now off the hook for an extra $35 million guaranteed, but the organization will still incur a staggering cap hit of $85 million before gaining complete relief in 2026, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. The Broncos' QB situation continues to be among the most troubling and unsolvable in the league.

Broncos-Russell Wilson pairing ultimately ends in disaster

For a little while, though, it looked as if Wilson was actually going to work out in the Mile High City. Despite throwing for only 3,070 passing yards in 15 games, he produced efficient passing numbers without an array of offensive options this past season (26 touchdown passes, 66.4 completion percentage, eight interceptions). Denver had a slim chance of sneaking into the playoffs before Payton decided to bench the nine-time Pro Bowler.

It was a decision that stunned the football-watching world, but one that Wilson apparently saw coming from months earlier. He said the Broncos threatened to bench him in October if he did not restructure his $37 million injury guarantee. The 35-year-old, backed by the NFL Players Association, stood his ground and refused to acquiesce to management's demands.

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Needless to say, Denver is drowning in bad optics at this moment. But it can immediately start over this offseason, either in the NFL Draft or free agency. Questions surfaced from the onset about Russell Wilson and Sean Payton's ability to mesh well together. Clearly, it was a rocky marriage.

Both men can find success post-divorce, however. Wilson should rebound quickly on the open market, with the Pittsburgh Steelers specifically standing out as an interesting fit. Meanwhile, the Broncos brass will remain under heavy pressure to find a franchise quarterback as they try to recover from this debacle.