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Russell Wilson's best team fits now that Broncos are moving on

The Denver Broncos are officially moving on from Russell Wilson.

Head coach Sean Payton and general manager George Paton announced on Monday that they intend to release Wilson at the start of the new league year on March 13.

Parting with Wilson will result in an $85 million cap hit that could be split across two seasons depending on how it's designated. The Broncos will owe him the $39 million he's guaranteed this season regardless. Keeping him would have meant a cap hit of roughly $90 million split over two seasons. They'll save a $37 million guarantee for the 2025 season that would have been triggered had they retained him past the start of the new league year.

Now that it appears Wilson's bound for a new team, which team should that be?

Pittsburgh Steelers

After keeping Kenny Pickett on the bench in the playoffs, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said in January that he wants competition for his third-year quarterback. Mitchell Trubisky has been released, and Mason Rudolph is slated for free agency, meaning the Steelers will have to look elsewhere.

The Steelers are reportedly interested in pursuing Ryan Tannehill, who will hit free agency after five seasons with the Tennessee Titans. Wilson on a cheap contract could also prove an attractive option.

Ultimately, the Steelers would prefer that Pickett emerges from whatever competition he's in after investing a first-round draft pick on him. That's no guarantee considering his tepid first two NFL seasons. Could Wilson revive his career with a stable franchise and a roster built to compete now?

Las Vegas Raiders

After seven appearances for Las Vegas, the Jimmy Garoppolo experiment is over. With Antonio Pierce entering his first offseason as head coach, the Raiders are widely expected to release Garoppolo before an $11.25 million roster bonus kicks in, meaning they're in the market for a quarterback.

Aidan O'Connell remains in the mix after flashing promise in 10 starts as a rookie. The Raiders also have the 13th pick in the draft, which they could use to roll the dice on a quarterback not named Caleb Williams, Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels. Either way, the addition of a veteran in Wilson who has been to multiple Pro Bowls and won a Super Bowl could prove attractive. That he knows the inner workings of the division rival Broncos is an added bonus.

Atlanta Falcons

After 13 starts produced 12 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and few successful downfield plays in 2023, Desmond Ridder's time as Atlanta's starter appears to be done. He was benched twice in favor of Taylor Heinicke before starting the season finale against the New Orleans Saints.

The Falcons are in the market for an upgrade who can maximize the potential of high-upside weapons Kyle Pitts, Drake London and Bijan Robinson. Is Wilson that guy? His past two seasons suggest that he's not. But he could be worth a low-risk roll of the dice if the Falcons don't make a move for a player like Justin Fields should Fields become available. Wilson could also act as a bridge if the Falcons prioritize a quarterback in the first round of the draft, where they're slated to pick at No. 8.

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings would presumably prefer to carry on with Kirk Cousins. But that's no guarantee. Cousins is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in the truest sense. He's not eligible for the franchise tag. And he could ask for more than the Vikings are willing to pay a 35-year-old coming off an Achilles injury.

In that instance, the Vikings will be in desperate need of a replacement for Cousins that didn't emerge in his injury absence last season. It will be an appealing position for whomever takes the job with two of the league's top young receivers in Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison at his disposal. There are much worse spots for Wilson to land.

New England Patriots

The Mac Jones era is over after he was benched repeatedly in favor of Bailey Zappe last season. The Patriots are in position to draft his replacement with the No. 3 overall pick as Jerod Mayo takes the head coaching reins from Bill Belichick.

That pick could very well be used to select electric LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels, assuming that Williams and Maye go off the board first. Recent NFL history makes a strong case for letting young quarterbacks learn the ropes from the bench. See Patrick Mahomes and Jordan Love.

In that instance, Wilson could emerge as an attractive bridge in New England as a mentor with Super Bowl experience. Wilson could also be the target if New England drafts an elite position player like Ohio State receiver Marvin Harrison Jr.