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Broncos free agency: Wilson release becomes official, Denver re-signs WR for depth

Saints Colts Football
Lil'Jordan Humphrey
Posted at 7:49 PM, Mar 12, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-14 00:01:01-04

DENVER — Wednesday was the first official day of free agency in the NFL. And the Broncos officially released quarterback Russell Wilson.

The team also decided to take the big hurt from his contract this season.

The Broncos will take a $53 million salary cap charge in 2024, and then take a $32 million hit in 2025.

The $53 million cap hit will be the biggest single season hit in NFL history.

Coach Sean Payton is in full rebuild mode now and it’s better to take the pain now so it won’t hurt so bad in the future.

The Broncos cleared about $20 million of salary cap space by re-structuring the contracts of Ben Powers and Zach Allen.

As of now, they haven’t signed a quarterback and they don’t have much money to spend.

Expectations for the coming season should start at ground level.

The Broncos did make a move on Wednesday. They re-signed receiver Lil’ Jordan Humphrey to a one-year contract.

Like many of the Broncos players and coaches, Humphrey came to the Broncos from the Saints where he played for Payton.

Humphrey had 13 catches for 162 yards and 3 touchdowns last season.

This will help the Broncos’ receiver depth since the trade of Jerry Jeudy to the Browns became official Wednesday.

Tuesday, March 12

The Denver Broncos added a run-stopping defensive lineman on Day 2 of the NFL free agent tampering period Tuesday. They also re-signed their fullback and kicker.

It wasn't all good news on Tuesday. The Broncos lost a starting inside linebacker and still haven’t signed a quarterback.

The Broncos agreed to terms with defensive tackle Malcolm Roach from the Saints. He is one of the best run-stops in the NFL — something the Broncos sorely needed.

Roach, 25, will get a 2-year deal for about $8 million. He played two years under head coach Sean Payton in New Orleans.

The Broncos will re-sign receiver Lil'Jordan Humphrey.

They also will re-sign fullback Michael Burton to a one-year deal. He had 7 carries for 9 yards and 3 catches for 8 yards last season.

Burton is an exceptional blocker and special teams player and made the Pro Bowl as an alternate in 2023. He also played for Sean Payton in New Orleans.

Kicker Wil Lutz officially signed his new contract with the Broncos. He gets a two-year deal for $8.4 million, with $4.5 million guaranteed. He also spent time in New Orleans with Payton.

Linebacker Josey Jewell is leaving the Broncos for the Panthers. Jewell got a three-year deal for $22.75 million, with $10 million guaranteed. The fan-favorite had 236 tackles and 5.5 sacks in the last two seasons.

Broncos free agent center Lloyd Cushenberry agreed to a four-year, $50 million deal with the Tennessee Titans on Monday. As of now, the Broncos have centers Luke Wattenberg and Alex Forsyth on the roster.

The Broncos have agreed to sign safety Brandon Jones to a three-year, $20 million deal to replace Justin Simmons, who will be released.

Safety P.J. Locke resigned with the Broncos to a two-year, $7 million contract.

Tight-end Adam Trautman officially received a two-year deal to stay in Denver. He had 23 catches for 204 yards and 3 TD's last season. He also played under Payton in New Orleans.

The Broncos are still looking to sign a low-cost veteran free-agent quarterback, but pickings are slim. Sam Darnold agreed to a one-year, $10 million deal with the Minnesota Vikings. Drew Lock agreed to a one-year, $5 million deal with the New York Giants. Jameis Winston is going to the Cleveland Browns on a one-year, $8.7 million deal.

The Broncos have Jarrett Stidham and Ben DiNucci under contract next year for about $5 million and $1 million apiece, respectively. However, expect the team to continue to look for a low-cost veteran free-agent QB for 2024. They will also look to take a quarterback in the NFL draft in late April.

Broncos scouts were at former Oregon quarterback Bo Nix’s pro day on Tuesday.