Sean Payton Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos and first-year head coach Sean Payton created headlines throughout the NFL this week when they benched one-time franchise quarterback Russell Wilson.

The Broncos, sitting at 7-8 overall, aren’t yet statistically eliminated from the playoffs. But many feel the Broncos benched Wilson to avoid paying contract incentives and maintaining future cap space.

But ESPN football analyst Robert Griffin III puts the blame squarely on the shoulders of Payton.

“Russell Wilson’s biggest opposition this year was Sean Payton,” Griffin wrote on X, formerly Twitter, on Wednesday. “Embarrassed him in the media, on the sideline and every chance he got. After a long year of showing the locker room that Russ was never his guy, he benched him despite his improved play.”

Payton, for his part, admitted on Wednesday that he knew the questions would come due to the move.

“I understand all the speculation and everything that surrounds a move like that,” he said, according to The New York Post. “I can tell you, we’re desperately trying to win. Sure, in our game today there are economics and all those other things, but the number one push behind this — and it’s a decision I’m making — is to get a spark offensively.

“Obviously, it’s difficult and all of us feel like, ‘Man we didn’t do well enough.’”

[New York Post]