New report is the biggest reason Falcons might sign Russell Wilson in free agency

NFL: OCT 08 Jets at Broncos

The Falcons are going to come away with at least one quarterback this offseason; it’s just a matter of which one.

Terry Fontenot is expected to be aggressive in trying to trade up in the draft to find the signal caller of the future, which is clearly their top option. However, it’s entirely possible and maybe even likely that the Falcons don’t even have the opportunity.

There must be a backup plan, but what would it be?

Trading for Justin Fields could certainly be an avenue. Signing Kirk Cousins or Baker Mayfield may also be in the cards for Atlanta. However, there are obstacles to each of those acquisitions. The Falcons may take issue with Fields’ fit in Zac Robinson’s offense, while Cousins and Mayfield may re-sign with their respective teams.

Where does that leave the Falcons? Well, it might end up with Terry Fontenot and Raheem Morris bringing Russell Wilson to Atlanta. There’s one reason why Wilson is an attractive target.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported Wilson may be willing to take the veteran’s minimum once the Broncos release him.

“Everybody I’ve talked to around the league expects the Denver Broncos at some point around the new league year in the next few weeks to rip the band-aid off and release Russell Wilson even though they owe him $39 million in guaranteed money,” Fowler said Sunday on SportsCenter, via Bleacher Report. “But they can start new, he can go sign somewhere else. The feeling is he’ll sign for considerably less, maybe even the league minimum, because he’s got all that money in hand guaranteed. And so, he’s going to have options. The feeling I get from talking to teams and scouts is that he’s still an NFL starter, there will be a job somewhere for him.”

Denver owes Wilson $39 million next season, but the club could end up guaranteeing his 2025 salary of $37 million if he’s still on the roster by March 17, so it’s almost a foregone conclusion that Wilson hits free agency.

In Wilson’s contract, there’s language that whatever he makes next season with another team is offset by the cash Denver owes him. In theory, the Falcons could sign the veteran for the league minimum in 2024 and guarantee him money in 2025.

Obviously, Wilson isn’t of the same caliber as Kirk Cousins or maybe even Baker Mayfield at this point in his career, but league minimum for a starting-caliber quarterback is highway robbery.

The Falcons could essentially spend all of their free agent dollars on the defense and surrounding personnel. There are a lot of things about Russell Wilson to dislike as a potential target, but the strongest part of his potential free agency is the cost of acquiring him.

Photographer: Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire

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