Denver Broncos coach Sean Payton says the door remains open for Russell Wilson to stay with the team next season, although a decision on the quarterback’s future would not be a “long, drawn-out process”.
Wilson was benched for the final two games of the regular season – Jarrett Stidham getting the start in both – a move that coincided with claims from the former Seattle Seahawks star that he had been asked, and refused, to waive a clause in his contract.
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Wilson met with Payton, team CEO/owner Greg Penner and general manager George Paton following Sunday’s 27-14 defeat to the Las Vegas Raiders to thrash out plans for next season with the Broncos adamant the player’s departure is not a formality.
Payton said: “I told him, ‘Look, I don’t think it’s going to be a long, drawn-out process,’ but it hasn’t been decided relative to what our plans are. As soon as we know something certain, he would be the first to know.”
Payton also said that if the decision had been made to let him go, moves to that effect would have already taken place.
He added: “Yeah, listen, otherwise it would have been like ‘hey, goodbye.
‘We’ll look at all the scenarios and try to do what’s best for the Broncos. But communication will be important, and, yeah, that final decision hasn’t been made.”
Paton insisted the contract issue was not the reason for Wilson being benched, and insisted it was purely a football decision.
“During the bye week, I did reach out to Russ’ agent in a good faith and a creative attempt, to adjust his contract,” Paton said.
“We couldn’t get a deal done, and we moved on with our season. It didn’t come up again. Fast-forward to Week 17, Sean makes a change at the quarterback position. This was a football decision made by Sean, what he thought was in the best interest of the team. This was completely independent of any conversations I had with the agent. Again, it was a football decision, made by Sean.”