The Denver Broncos didn’t envision a 5-12 season and last-place finish in the AFC West when they signed quarterback Russell Wilson to a massive new contract.
But that’s exactly what happened. The Broncos fired former coach Nathaniel Hackett and hired former New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton to right the ship.
Payton’s first order of business will be righting Russell’s play. While he showed flashes of his old self last season, Russell played like one of the worst quarterbacks in the league for large swaths of play.
The Broncos notably signed career journeyman Jarrett Stidham as Wilson’s backup without informing Wilson of the signing. According to one media report, that wasn’t to “put pressure” on Wilson, but the franchise is willing to undergo a midseason quarterback change if his play doesn’t improve.
“If Wilson by midseason 2023 is having a similarly disastrous season to his first one in Denver, Payton won’t have to punt on the season. He’ll have an intriguing backup waiting in the wings,” Peter King of NBC Sports wrote.
That wasn’t Payton’s goal in signing Stidham, though. He was the best of the available options according to King.
“Payton did not go hard after Stidham to put the pressure on Wilson. He considered his options at backup QB and thought he could play it safe for around the same money with an Andy Dalton type, or swing for the fences on a young prospect with significant upside. I like the logic.”
Only time will tell how this move works out for Wilson, Stidham, and the Broncos.