The NFL offseason is a time for speculation and predictions, and former NFL star turned ESPN analyst Keyshawn Johnson has made a bombshell prediction about the future of quarterback Russell Wilson with the Denver Broncos. Johnson has shared his thoughts on whether or not Wilson can thrive under the guidance of new head coach Sean Payton, and what the future might hold if he fails to do so.
The Denver Broncos’ future is centered on one question – Can Sean Payton fix the struggling quarterback Russell Wilson? The Broncos hired Payton, the former New Orleans Saints coach known for his offensive expertise, in exchange for a first-round draft pick.
Wilson had a disappointing season after being traded from the Seattle Seahawks, and the Broncos had a 5-12 record. Keyshawn Johnson, a former NFL player and current ESPN analyst, believes Payton can build a successful offense around Wilson.
However, Johnson predicts that if Wilson continues to struggle this season, Payton won’t be very patient. If that happens, the Broncos will likely be looking for a new starting quarterback in 2024. “He can certainly fix him,” Johnson said of Wilson. “And if he doesn’t, it will not be on Sean Payton. It’ll be on Russell Wilson.”
"I know Sean [Payton] very well and I can guarantee you that if it don't go the way he wants it to go … there's gonna be some major changes and issues at the QB position in 2024"
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) April 12, 2023
Johnson knows Payton well and thinks that if things don’t go the way he wants them to, despite salary cap implications, there will be major changes at the quarterback position in 2024.
What will happen to Russell Wilson?
Broncos fans hope that Payton can help Wilson return to his former success with the Seattle Seahawks. Otherwise, parting with Wilson will be difficult since he signed a five-year contract extension last season worth over $240 million.
Wilson is under contract until the 2028 season, and his salary cap hit will be $35.4 million in 2024 and more than $53 million for each season from 2025-28. It will be nearly impossible to trade him, especially if his struggles continue.
Even if the Broncos release him, they would have to pay almost $135 million in dead cap money across the 2024 and 2025 seasons.
As the Broncos prepare for the upcoming season, all eyes will be on Wilson and Payton, eager to see if the veteran coach can turn things around for the struggling quarterback.
Johnson’s prediction adds another layer of intrigue to the mix, highlighting the potential high stakes of the upcoming season for the Broncos and their quarterback. Only time will tell if Payton can work his magic and lead Wilson to success, or if the team will be forced to face some tough decisions in the near future.