Recapping every move the Denver Broncos made in NFL Free Agency
Denver Broncos free agency recap: QB Jarrett Stidham
One of the moves that I think really needs to be emphasized and highlighted is the Broncos' move to go and sign former Patriots fourth-round pick and former Raiders quarterback Jarrett Stidham. Stidham signed a two-year deal worth $10 million and although it's not the biggest financial commitment the Broncos made, it's one of the biggest moves.
Once again, look at the words of Sean Payton himself when it comes to the Stidham signing:
"“I think he's young, but I think he's someone that we had a good grade on coming out. We like the player. I think he played well in the two starts he had this year. If you study closely the San Francisco game, he’s smart at the line of scrimmage. There were a couple of directions really with that position and there were a handful of No. 2’s that either I have worked with, or we felt comfortable with. In this case, I think he’s a No. 2 whose arrow is moving in a direction where we feel like he can become an NFL starter in our league. The evaluation was pretty crystal clear for all of us. I think he's someone that's going to be great in the room. He's smart. Quietly, that was an important sign for us.”"- Sean Payton
Those words, especially where Payton says "we feel like he can become an NFL starter in our league", are massive. Stidham was signed to be Russell Wilson's backup but also, as we've talked about throughout the 2023 offseason, he's also clearly the Russell Wilson contingency plan. Not often in his career has Russ really had a contingency plan behind him on the roster. The Seahawks carried plenty of solid backups, including NFL Comeback Player of the Year Geno Smith, but did they really view Smith as a threat to Russ when they signed him?
Have they ever really drafted anyone to push Russ? I don't think so.
The story with Russ has always been that it's the Russ show, and things are changing pretty drastically under Sean Payton. This move to sign Jarrett Stidham gives you a clear option to turn to, someone the team is hyping up as a future starter in the league. Someone to turn to if 2022 Russell Wilson is back again in 2023. You simply can't afford to have that happen again and not have a different direction you can turn.
Some people are getting a little carried away, thinking that Stidham was brought in to take Russell Wilson's job. I don't think that's going to be the case. At least, not until we see some consistent signs of struggle from Wilson again, if that ends up happening.