ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Denver Broncos owner/CEO Greg Penner, general manager George Paton and coach Sean Payton all left the door open Tuesday for Russell Wilson to return in 2024, but the three also said no decision has yet been made on the quarterback's future.

The three spoke Tuesday, two days after the Broncos closed out an 8-9 season with a 27-14 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders in Allegiant Stadium. It was the eighth consecutive playoff miss for the team and the seventh consecutive losing season.

Payton benched Wilson for the final two games of the season -- Jarrett Stidham started both. Wilson had said he was asked to make an adjustment to his contract earlier in the season or told he would be benched if he did not.

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Payton said he met with Wilson for 30 minutes Monday and among the topics discussed was a scenario where Wilson would return, but that any decision would also be made in a timely fashion.

"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,'' Payton said. "As soon as we know something certainly, he would be the first to know.''

Later, Payton was asked if the discussion did formally include a path where Wilson returns.

"Yeah, listen, otherwise it would have been like hey goodbye,'' Payton said. "... 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.''

Many in the league expect the Broncos to release Wilson in the coming weeks, which carries hefty salary cap implications for the team. It would also leave the starting quarterback job open once again. But Penner and Paton echoed the return scenario Tuesday and insisted any discussions with Wilson and his representatives have been handled in "good faith.''

Wilson said on Dec. 29 -- two days after Payton told the team Wilson had been benched -- the Broncos approached him just after the Broncos' Week 8 win over the Kansas City Chiefs about waiving a salary guarantee in the five-year $242.6 million contract that he signed in 2022. That guarantee would give Wilson, who is already guaranteed $39 million in 2024 whether he is on the team or not, another $37 million (his 2025 salary) guaranteed if he could not pass a physical on the fifth day of the new league year in March.

"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 Tuesday. "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.

"... We made a good faith attempt to adjust his contract, we handled ourselves professionally,'' Paton added. I'll just leave it at that.''

Paton was asked how Wilson and his representatives could have felt like the threat of benching the quarterback existed if no compromise was reached on a contract adjustment.

"That's a good question. Again, we tried to make an adjustment to the contract, we did so with what we feel professionally is in the best interest of the Broncos.''

Penner said while he is routinely briefed about the negotiations with players as well as their agents, he leaves those talks to Paton.

"As CEO I definitely want to be briefed about what's going on, but at the same time I entrust people to do their jobs,'' Penner said. "I don't coach the football team, I don't call the agents and have negotiations on player contracts ... I believe the approach to Russell's agent was done in a constructive way and it just didn't lead to an agreement.

"It's not always going to be easy, I'm sure ... you can always look back and there's different ways you could handle things, I'm sure in this case we could have done some things in a different way,'' Penner added. "But, again, our goal was to see if there was a nice, constructive path forward that was amenable to both parties.''

According to several executives in the league who manage the salary cap, if the Broncos do release Wilson, the "dead money'' charges left behind against Denver's salary cap would be $35.4 million in 2024 and $49.6 million in 2025. The combined $85 million dead money charge would be the largest any team has taken on for one player in the history of the salary cap.

Penner said Tuesday he understands what that would mean for the Broncos, but it will not be the driving force in the decision.

"Obviously, the financial part of it is a significant component in terms of how this works out in the future,'' Penner said. "But that's not what's going to driving the decision, the decision will be driven on what's in the best interest of this football team winning games.''