The NFL is always a wild carousel every offseason, and unfortunately the Denver Broncos have been part of that carousel nearly every year since Peyton Manning retired. With the Broncos and Russell Wilson heading toward a split, how will this offseason impact the direction of the team?

Denver Broncos heading into another uncertain offseason

Replacing Peyton Manning and winning Super Bowl 50 has seemingly been a curse for the Denver Broncos for the last eight seasons. Nearly every offseason since Manning retired, the Broncos have been in quarterback purgatory, with a revolving door of players at the position becoming a meme of a revolving carousel.

In 2024, the Broncos QB carousel graphic will return as all signs point to a split between Russell Wilson and the team. Broncos head coach Sean Payton decided on Wednesday to bench Wilson in favor of Jarrett Stidham, who will get the start for the final two weeks of the regular season and could possibly be the starter in Week 1 of next season.

We don’t know what will occur between now and the new league year, but a parting of ways is anticipated, once again putting the Broncos into an offseason full of questions without many answers or clarity. Payton took the job knowing that Wilson would be his quarterback, and while there have been attempts to build the offense around what Wilson does well, it’s clear as day that Payton isn’t interested in making it work.

Of course, Payton’s job as the head coach is on the line, and his responsibility is to win, but you can argue that Denver’s new head coach has lost interest in trying to make it work. Wilson hasn’t been the sole reason Denver has lost games; hell, you can even argue that he’s been a reason they’ve won games this year, too.

The overall operation around the Broncos offense hasn’t been good enough, and that ranges from quarterback play, offensive playcalling, inconsistencies in pass protection, the inability to run the football consistently, and lack of playmaking personnel all factor into the equation.

How do these issues get addressed in the offseason? At this point, Denver can’t bank on putting all of their eggs in the Greg Dulcich basket due to the injuries he’s sustained over his first two seasons.

The Broncos offensive line has improved this year, but consistency is the bigger issue. There’s a level of confidence that more time and getting further invested in the scheme will help that translate next season.

With the report coming out from Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz about the Broncos threatening to bench Wilson after the team beat the Chiefs if he didn’t waive his $37M injury clause, the optics don’t look great for Denver.

While the Broncos have every right to ask Wilson to restructure his deal, Russ has every amount of right to say no, which he did. As Denver looks to move on, you can’t help but wonder how potential free-agent prospects view this situation.

The NFL business side is ugly, and often at times it’s very dirty. Ultimately, how organizations treat their players is viewed very highly by prospective free agents. If Denver can treat Wilson this way for making a lot of money, players know that organizations will treat them that way if it comes to it.

When Payton was shown blasting into Russell Wilson on two separate NFL broadcasts, Wilson handled it professionally and never showcased any negative body language.

Payton has had moments of throwing temper tantrums whether that’s during a game or in media scrums with reporters. Of course, he’s a fiery competitor and is an old-school coach who hates losing, we all respect that about him — but when the coach seemingly places blame on others versus taking accountability for his hand in the situation, the message tends to fall on deaf ears.

Broncos Country is split right now on how Payton and the team have managed the Wilson situation. On the one hand, the fanbase has hope and trust that Payton can make moves to put Denver in a better position going forward, and ultimately, that’s where he faces the most pressure immediately as the team looks to move on from Wilson.

On the other hand, a large portion of the fanbase has been turned off by Payton’s demeanor, and their level of trust in him has dissipated. As we all know, if the team finds a way to win, the negative perceptions will change, but until that happens, this fanbase is going to be largely skeptical of the direction the team is headed in.

It’s unclear how this offseason will truly go for Denver, but one thing is very clear — it will be another rocky mountain roller coaster come March.

Buckle up, Broncos Country.