The Denver Broncos have made a huge quarterback change, opting to go with Jarret Stidham with two games left in the regular season per Adam Schefter of ESPN.
Change in Denver: Broncos’ HC Sean Payton has informed his team that Jarrett Stidham will start Sunday vs. the Chargers, with Russell Wilson as the backup, per sources.
With a 1-3 record in the last four games, Denver is looking to spark its offense and see what it has in… pic.twitter.com/P6X2DO0jT7
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 27, 2023
Considering the Broncos are no longer in playoff contention, the quarterback change raises questions about the future of Russell Wilson. Although the former Seattle Seahawk has played well this NFL season, it hardly justifies the huge investment Denver made in him.
Russell Wilson was signed by the Denver Broncos to a five-year $245 million extension last summer with $124 million of that fully guaranteed. Unfortunately, that move had not paid off with the Broncos still in search of that player who can carry on from the Peyton Manning era.
Sean Payton unhappy with Broncos’ offense
Sean Payton was not yet with the team when the Broncos acquired Wilson. However, it is no secret that he has been pretty upset about the way that the Broncos’ offense has been running.
This is despite Wilson being among the NFL’s top 10 in touchdown passes and passer rating. Despite that, such has not worked for the Broncos who are among the league’s worst in third-down production and goal-to-situations as well as 22nd in the red zone.
The development has gotten many theorizing that Russell Wilson may be moved in the offseason. But why rest him now? Here are some possible reasons
1. Denver Broncos are preserving Russell Wilson before looking for takers
With the season lost, the Denver Broncos are likely to retool their lineup in the offseason. Russell Wilson could be at the top of that list and making sure that he is healthy can only improve their chances on any potential deal.
Considering that Wilson performed well, it could be a case of being on the wrong team. There are other teams in need of a proven quarterback and Wilson could be their guy.
2. Sean Payton wants to see how Jarrett Stidham responds
With two games left, it is possible that Payton wants to see how Stidham will respond and if the 27-year-old can prove he can orchestrate a better offensive. At this point, Payton is looking at all his options before deciding on the players he will need by next season.
Also, turning to Stidham can help Payton figure out if quarterbacking is the problem or something else. Should the issue be on the frontline, then perhaps Russell Wilson is not the main problem Denver has to face.
3. Denver is saving Russell Wilson for another season
Tied to the second potential reason, the Broncos may be saving Wilson for next season and spare any potential freakish accident or injury that may happen in their last two regular seasons.
While most believe that he will be traded, the last two games without Wilson may help Payton and Broncos management decide how to resolve the team’s woes heading into the offseason.
There are a lot of things that the Russell Wilson benching may be all about. The only thing clear is that the Broncos need to explore all angles and determine how they can get back to their winning ways.