10 backup options for Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos in 2023

Carolina Panthers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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The Denver Broncos may have renewed optimism for Russell Wilson under new head coach Sean Payton, but expectations have been effectively tempered after Wilson's rather disastrous 2022 season. Although the Broncos have no choice but to buy into Wilson making progress in 2023 because of their financial commitment to him, they also have no choice in the 2023 offseason as it relates to bringing in a competent contingency plan at the position.

To me, this means the team must bring in a high-upside type of backup quarterback. Ideally, it will be someone with prior starting experience but it won't ideally be someone who has a low ceiling. Still, at this point, all options are on the table, including the "boring" ones. The Broncos don't need competition for Russell Wilson, but they do need someone who can push him, who can be an asset to the QB room, and who could benefit by being with this coaching staff which has made quarterbacks plenty of money through the years.

Let's take a look at 10 backup QB options in a very deep 2023 NFL free agent class at the position that could end up in Denver in 2023 and beyond.

Top 10 backup QB options for the Denver Broncos in 2023

1. Sam Darnold (free agent, Panthers)

It's not going to be everyone's personal brand, but I really like the idea of Sam Darnold coming to the Denver Broncos more and more. I know it's not 2018 anymore, and I realize John Elway is not making the decisions (Elway apparently loved Darnold in the 2018 NFL Draft process), but Darnold might be the best possible option when it comes to:

- Prior starting experience
- Age (only 26 in June)
- Price? Darnold is a clear reclamation project at this point

After sitting out most of last season recovering from injury, Darnold came out in the final six games of the season and helped the Panthers compete for a division title. In his first start of the year -- against the Broncos -- Darnold looked really good. He has looked good in a couple of appearances against the Broncos, come to think of it.

Darnold also just so happens to have been teammates for a couple of years with Broncos new QB coach Davis Webb as members of the New York Jets. To me, this is the best case scenario for the Broncos. Getting Darnold, who is not yet 26, coming off a strong finish, on a multi-year deal to play for Sean Payton?

That's the move.