Good morning, Broncos Country!
Another season in the books.
Another one with more losses than wins.
Another one with big unanswered questions in the offseason.
Another one looking for a quarterback.
As the inevitable divorce with Russell Wilson looms, and Jarrett Stidham seems destined for a backup role (or at least should be), Sean Payton will be scouring locker rooms across the league (XFL included) and into the college ranks to find his guy.
But the “guys” available to him could be a different story.
I’ve seen enough to know this is not a Russell Wilson issue here in Denver. He certainly doesn’t perform to his salary, but it’s not entirely his fault. This offense is just too inconsistent and unpredictable. And it’s been that way for EIGHT YEARS!— Vic Lombardi (@VicLombardi) January 7, 2024
What to do about Russell Wilson
Thanks to George Paton handing Wilson the contract of the century two years ago, the Broncos will be on the hook for a lot of money where the veteran QB is concerned. The good news is, the owners have deep pockets.
Also, Wilson had a decent season until the Week 17 benching, so there are probably some teams very interested in bringing him aboard. Wilson threw for 3,070 yards and 26 touchdowns with just eight interceptions. Wilson also logged 341 yards on the ground and added three rushing TDs. Wilson’s completion percentage went from 60.5 percent under Nathaniel Hackett to 66.4 percent this year under Payton.
But not just every team can afford Wilson, so there may have to be some creative math on the deal to make a trade possible.
Either way, Wilson will likely not be a Bronco when the league year starts in March.
Anyways since it’s the last we are going to see of him, here are Russell Wilson’s full highlights this season. Fun watch ♂️— Aadan (@JMurrayWrld) January 1, 2024
QB purgatory will never end pic.twitter.com/RbDYBLJF2e
Drafting a rookie QB?
A lot of NFL scouts were paying close attention to the College Football National Championship game Monday night as two potential rookie QBs next season were facing off - Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy and Washington’s Michael Penix, Jr.
Of course, USC’s Caleb Williams, North Carolina’s Drake Maye and LSU’s Jayden Daniels will be in the conversation for top QBs in this year’s draft as well and perhaps one may fall all the way to 12 for Denver.
Hopefully that is the case because without a lot of draft capital - six picks and only two in the first two days and no pick in the second round - the Broncos will have to trade some elite players if they want to move up to take a specific quarterback.
A bridge QB?
Perhaps my least favorite option of any when it comes to figuring out the QB position is the “bridge” option. Nothing says “we don’t know what we’re doing so we’re biding time” like a bridge QB.
The Broncos have been doing that for years - Case Keenum, Joe Flacco, Trevor Siemian, Teddy Bridgewater...the list is long and forgettable.
As is this year’s list of free agent quarterbacks. Among those available, Jameis Winston might be the most probable given his tie to Payton at the Saints.
Dennis Allen: Let’s go out and take a knee guys— 5⚜️4 Ralph Lauren (@504Tru) January 8, 2024
Jameis Winston: pic.twitter.com/f91gNbfVoN
Stidham to the rescue?
No. But don’t tell him that. Plus with a two-year contract in place, Stidham does make financial sense while the Broncos finish paying Wilson.
Following his second game starting for the Broncos, Stidham said he learned a lot in the two weeks he started and believes there is a lot for the offense to build on.
“We’ll take a look this offseason and evaluate and see if we can get better,” he said, adding that he learns best by doing. “I love being hands-on with things and learning things that way...getting out there and actually doing it definitely helps. [I] definitely feel, like I said, [I] grew in the offense over the last two weeks, and it was good to get out there and actually do it.”
Despite all the changes in QB and coaches over recent years, the Broncos will have the luxury next year of keeping the same offensive system, which Stidham called “huge.”
“Nothing’s going to be new,” Stidham said. “It’s all going to be stuff that we’ve heard before, stuff that we know how to do and why we’re doing it. Half the time, that’s the battle. It’s good to kind of have that under your belt.”
Most importantly, Stidham said he has no doubts about being the Broncos’ starter next year.
“I’m very confident that I can be the guy for us,” Stidham said after the game. “I have no doubts about that. But I’m going to continue to work as hard as possible this offseason and learn as much as possible. I’m excited for the opportunity, for sure.”
It's wild what happens when you run high percentage crossing routes...— Ryan Edwards (@redwardsradio) January 7, 2024
The good ol’ days
While we’re talking QBs...yesterday was the 12th anniversary of one of the most unlikely but amazing playoff wins in Broncos history.
And from a very unlikely quarterback.
The Tim Tebow-Demaryius Thomas OT touchdown against Pittsburgh.
Revel in this ...
2024 NFL draft order: Top 18 picks set, with Bears at the top - ESPN
Stidham would be the most efficient option given he's signed for 2024 and Wilson's contract would put the Broncos in a most uncomfortable salary cap squeeze.
NFL: Full list of Broncos starting quarterbacks since Peyton Manning
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‘I’m excited for the opportunity’: QB Jarrett Stidham evaluates strides made in two starts, looks forward to 2024 possibilities
“I felt like I definitely grew in those two weeks,” Stidham said on Monday. “It’s one thing to practice certain things, but once you’re out there playing and making calls at the line and doing certain things and getting a feel for it in live action, I fel
Broncos sign 12 players to future contracts
The players will be added to the Broncos’ 90-man active roster following the conclusion of the 2023 postseason.
Russell Wilson Rumors: Broncos Players Were ‘Pissed’ About Decision to Bench QB | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors | Bleacher Report
The Denver Broncos’ decision to bench Russell Wilson might have cost Sean Payton his locker room. Multiple Broncos players spoke out against the decision in…
Next steps for Broncos and Sean Payton with Russell Wilson - ESPN
After missing the playoffs for the eighth season in a row, the Denver Broncos have another quarterback conundrum.
Ranking NFL MVP candidates, awards picks for 2023 season - ESPN
Bill Barnwell ranks the candidates for MVP, rookies of the year, best coach and more. How close is the MVP race after 18 weeks?
Jets WR Garrett Wilson on 2023: 'What happened this season can't happen again'
Jets head coach Robert Saleh said Monday he does not anticipate drastic changes, while standout receiver Garrett Wilson opined that "what happened this season can't happen again."
Dolphins' Mike McDaniel: 'Zero people' are concerned with WR Tyreek Hill's recent drops
There might be some consternation in Miami after the Dolphins lost three of their last five to drop the AFC East crown that seemed theirs for much of the season, but the team is not concerned with the amount of drop Tyreek Hill has had during the season.
2024 NFL head coach cycle: Assessing each open job
Judy Battista assesses each open head-coaching job in the NFL. Is any gig more attractive than the Los Angeles Chargers' post, given Justin Herbert's presence at quarterback?