Want to Know What Sean Payton Thinks of Russell Wilson? Look at Denver's Approach to Free Agency

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Want to Know What Sean Payton Thinks of Russell Wilson? Look at Denver’s Approach to Free Agency


Russell Wilson has been dealing with a nagging right knee injury for a few seasons. According to Ian Rapoport, Wilson addressed that concern with arthroscopic knee surgery after the 2022 season.

Rapoport says Russell Wilson should be fine for OTAs and healthy for the 2023 season.

But how much will Russell Wilson’s health matter in 2023? Of course, it will matter. But the Broncos’ approach in free agency makes me believe that new Broncos head coach Sean Payton isn’t quite ready to “let Russ cook” this season.

Denver invested $87.5 million over four seasons in tackle Mike McGlinchey. The Broncos guaranteed McGlinchey $52.5 million, with $35 guaranteed at signing. The Broncos could get out of the contract after 2025 with a $14 million cap savings on a pre-June 1 cut, but he’s in Denver for the next three seasons on a hefty investment.

McGlinchey’s specialty? Run blocking.

Denver also gave guard Ben Powers a four-year, $52 million contract. Powers comes from the run-heavy Ravens. Denver gave tight end Chris Manhertz a two-year, $6 million deal. Manhertz is a blocking tight end.

The Broncos invested a ton in run-blocking specialists up front. This makes me believe that Denver will be a run-heavy offense. So, Wilson will be more of a game manager than a game conductor within Denver’s offense.

It just doesn’t seem like Sean Payton doesn’t like or has much faith in Wilson. He’s stuck with him in 2023. Still, he’s building the Broncos to be a team that wins within the trenches. A team that runs the ball and dominates teams with their defense.

Signing Jarrett Stidham also gives the Broncos a viable bridge to the next franchise quarterback behind Wilson if Payton pulls the plug on the experiment.

So, Wilson is healthy heading into 2023—but it doesn’t seem like he factors much into Sean Payton’s scheme, regardless of his health.

Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is the Lead NFL Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.