Sean Payton met with the media at the annual league meetings earlier this morning and had some interesting things to say about their recently signed backup quarterback. He told reporters that he believes Jarrett Stidham can become an NFL starter at quarterback and that he was “quietly an important signing” for the Broncos.
Sean Payton, on Jarrett Stidham: “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 2 starts he had this year. If you study closely the San Francisco game, he’s smart at the line of scrimmage.…” pic.twitter.com/k45E6cAwKa— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) March 27, 2023
Jarrett Stidham signed a two-year, $10 million dollar contract with the Denver Broncos and was one of the first players they agreed to terms with once the legal tampering opened. This showed that he was a priority for them and Payton’s comments about him back that up. He told reporters that Stidham is smart at the line of scrimmage and that he is a backup who is trending in the right direction.
“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 2 starts he had this year. If you study closely the San Francisco game, he’s smart at the line of scrimmage and so, there were a couple of directions, really, with that position. There were a handful of No. 2s that either I had worked with, or we felt comfortable with. but in this case, I think, it’s a No. 2 that his arrow is moving in a direction (motions upward) where we feel like he can become an NFL starter in our league. So, 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. And, so, that was quietly an important signing for us.” - quote via Andrew Mason
Stidham was a surprise signing by the Broncos but it does make sense that Payton would want “his guy” in the quarterback room. Nobody really knows how the Russell Wilson experiment with Sean Payton will go, so having some insurance behind him that the head coach believes in is the way to go. Payton has a good eye for quarterbacks and has routinely got the most out of the ones playing for him. He did it with Drew Brees. Teddy Bridgewater, Taysom Hill(who is a tight end now), and others. So, I will trust his opinion and evaluation here.
The intrigue with Stidham mostly comes from how he performed against the dominant San Francisco 49ers defense. It was his first start of the season and he was dealing against a very good defense. He completed 23 of 34 passes for 365 yards for 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions and rushed the ball 7 times for 34 yards. The Raiders ultimately ended up losing in overtime, but that was a pretty damn good performance by Stidham. If Payton can build on that and get the most out of him moving forward, it will be intriguing to see how he performs.
I would not be shocked if Payton brought in Stidham to be more than just a backup. The way Wilson played and looked last year, you need someone who can start and push him for the job if that play continues. So, that could be an interesting storyline to watch during camp. Obviously, Wilson is the starter, but if his struggles continue, it will be interesting to see what Payton does, especially after these glowing comments about Stidham.