BRONCOS

No surprise: Broncos aren’t picking up fifth-year option on Zach Wilson

May 1, 2024, 1:29 PM | Updated: 6:51 pm

Zach Wilson was not brought necessarily in for a long time — and that became clear when the Denver Broncos selected Bo Nix with the No. 12 overall pick.

So, it comes as no surprise that the Broncos did not pick up the fifth-year option on the quarterback, who was selected with the No. 2 overall pick in in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

That option would have been worth a cap charge of $22.408 million.

ESPN first reported the decision.

Teams that trade for former first-round picks while still on their rookie contracts also inherit the fifth-year option. For example, after trading for 2019 Broncos first-round pick Noah Fant in the Russell Wilson swap of 2022, the Seahawks picked up Fant’s option for 2023. They subsequently re-signed him to a multi-year extension earlier this year.

ZACH WILSON WILL NEVERTHELESS “COMPETE” FOR JOB

This doesn’t mean the Broncos are down on Zach Wilson, whose acquisition was a few weeks in coming.

“We were really happy to bring Zach here,” Sean Payton said last week. “There was no specific timing, that just took a little bit of time. In other words, George (Paton) and Joe (Douglas) with the Jets have been working on that. So it wasn’t a smokescreen.

“… We knew we wanted to add into the room, and I think I said that much even at the owner’s meetings. We really liked that opportunity.”

The Broncos were in the mix for some other quarterbacks in March, but ultimately, saw a combination of untapped potential and contract value in Zach Wilson. The Jets picked up half of Wilson’s salary for 2024.

“There were a number of veteran backups that signed contracts, and yet we saw talent with a player that just three years ago was the No. 2 pick in the draft,” Payton said. “We really like his traits.”

“… Bill (Parcells) taught me a long time ago, ‘Just let them play.’ We have to maximize the reps that we have, and let them develop, and that stuff will sort itself out.”

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No surprise: Broncos aren’t picking up fifth-year option on Zach Wilson