It’s hard to put just one game into a sharp enough lens to evaluate quarterback play in the NFL, but Denver Broncos quarterback Jarrett Stidham has every opportunity according to Sean Payton to be considered for next season’s plan.

Denver Broncos QB evaluation already ongoing for future plans

Now that it’s clear as day that the Denver Broncos and Russell Wilson are set to part ways in March, the team finds themselves back in the compromising position of trying to find a long-term solution at quarterback.

Could Denver look at potential veterans in NFL Free Agency or draft a young player in the 2024 NFL Draft? Every option is on the table, including Denver’s potential starting quarterback already being on the roster.

After making his first career start with the Broncos on Sunday Night, Jarrett Stidham made a few plays that helped the team hold on in their win against the Los Angeles Chargers. Was his performance perfect? No.

Early on, Stidham struggled with some accuracy issues on in-breaking routes and had a few throws that went behind receivers, but he also stepped up and stood in the pocket on some big third downs and delivered some strikes to keep the chains moving and on one play found Lil’Jordan Humphrey for some yards after the catch that accounted for the only touchdown of the game.

Sunday’s game, from a logical standpoint, isn’t enough to give Broncos fans comfort or assurance he can be the guy under center next season, but it’s also not enough to say he can’t be, either.

The reality is we have no idea how this offseason will go or what the long-term and immediate ripple effects will be when the team moves on from Wilson. We can assume that the salary cap ramifications will be felt, but it’s hard to imagine what the team’s vision for the position will be or how they will achieve it.

During his Monday conference call, Payton told us that every player and element is being evaluated even though Denver has been officially eliminated from the playoffs as they prepare for their final game against the Las Vegas Raiders.

“That’s the case with every player, right,” Payton said. “We are constantly evaluating how they play, and then, it would definitely carry over to how we feel about next year, relative to their role. The answer would be yes. I think these are important snaps and games for him.”

Stidham is under contract in 2024 anyway, and depending on the salary ramifications of the upcoming Russell Wilson move, he or a rookie may be the best cost-effective option.

Broncos lose safety Delarrin Turner-Yell to ACL injury

One of the unfortunate events to unfold in Sunday’s win was injuries to second-year safety Delarrin Turner-Yell and offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey. McGlinchey suffered a rib injury after accidentally taking a helmet shot to the ribcage from Javonte Williams on an outside run.

He did not return in Sunday’s game and veteran Cam Fleming stepped in at the position. Turner-Yell unfortunately suffered a season-ending ACL injury that will require surgery.

“Right now, [T] Mike [McGlinchey’s] news is better,” Payton said. “[S] Delarrin Turner-Yell has an ACL. He’s going to be out and put on IR. Mike’s [injury] is a rib. I won’t get into the details, but we’re a lot more optimistic about him.”

He was spotted after the game on crutches with a knee brace after it looked like he was hit in the knee area while making a play during punt coverage. Turner-Yell has taken drastic strides this season and carved out a role for himself as one of the Broncos’ top special teams players.

He saw some reps at safety this season and had some highs and lows, but ultimately, he received crucial game reps that can benefit him in his development. Once he has surgery to repair his knee, he’ll go through the rehab and therapy process with the team’s medical staff and Beau Lowery, and a timeline will be established.

The loss of Turner-Yell impacts Denver’s safety depth for Week 18. It’s unclear at this point if rookie JL Skinner will be elevated after being inactive most of the season.

If Skinner isn’t ready in the eyes of the coaching staff, a name to keep an eye on is practice squad safety Devon Key, who was a key preseason standout and has been a crucial part of Denver’s scout team this season.