Things don't seem like they can get much worse for the Broncos this season and it's hard to imagine that the contract the team handed Russell Wilson could get any worse. But there is one way it could get much, much worse.
There is a provision in the contract of Wilson that protects against a significant injury for the veteran passer. So in addition to owing Wilson $39 million in guaranteed money next season, the Broncos would actually have to pay another $37 million if he were to get hurt so bad that he couldn't pass a physical in March.
This would be an odd yet disastrous scenario for the Broncos, who need to start looking for a successor for Wilson in the 2024 draft. Because of this possibility, there is a solid chance you will see Jarrett Stidham play a significant number of snaps at quarterback this season.
The Broncos signed Stidham as a free agent this offseason and gave him a two-year, $10 million deal, which is pretty significant for a backup quarterback. There was a lot of belief at the time that Sean Payton saw Stidham as more than just a backup.
If the Broncos were to drop too many more games and fall completely out of the playoff race (truthfully, they already have) then there is no good reason not to play Stidham, and there is more than one reason for that.
If the Broncos were to draft a quarterback in the upcoming draft, in the event he's not ready to start the season, and the Broncos were to dump Wilson despite the hefty hit in dead money, then Stidham could be the perfect bridge quarterback.
But more importantly, Stidham could be yanked off the bench in order to prevent a catastrophic (and very expensive injury) to Wilson.
I feel there is almost no doubt that Stidham will make some starts at quarterback this season, it's just a matter of how many. Wilson has played well this season for the most part, and he is not the reason the Broncos are 1-5, but he's also not going to be a guy who should be included in any part of the rebuilding process.
At this point, the Broncos need to get out from under the Wilson mess as painlessly as possible. Stidham is going to figure into that process.