The Denver Broncos entered this off-season with questions regarding who would back up starting quarterback Russell Wilson. On the first day of NFL Free Agency, Sean Payton went out on a limb for Jarrett Stidham.

Denver Broncos backup an important signing according to Payton

As Russell Wilson prepares to rebound after a disastrous 2022 debut with the Denver Broncos, his backup quarterback will be looking to further develop under Sean Payton.

Jarrett Stidham was one of the Broncos first signings during the start of NFL Free Agency. After spending 2022 with the Las Vegas Raiders, Stidham stays within the division and will develop under Payton, QB coach Davis Webb, and offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi.

Much of the criticism surrounding Denver revolves around Wilson’s performance last season, but Payton acknowledged that while the Broncos quarterback didn’t play well, there was plenty of blame to go around.

“He’s super competitive,” Payton said of Wilson. “He’s won at a high level. He’s someone that I think moves well. He’s someone that I think works extremely hard. It’s hard to find guys with all those traits. Now, I watched, with every one of you, the season that took place a year ago. I said this a little bit earlier. There’s probably a little bit of dirt on a lot of people’s hands. When you win five games, it is what it is. I don’t think I need to elaborate any more. It wasn’t good. Wasn’t good on offense, that’s for sure. It was hard film to watch.”

While this upcoming season will be crucial for Wilson to bounce back after last season’s struggles, Payton believes that the signing of Stidham was an important one for the team.

“I think he’s young, but I think he’s someone that we had a good grade on coming out,” Payton said on Monday at the NFL Annual Meeting. “We like the player. I think he played well in the two starts he had this year. If you study closely the San Francisco game, he’s smart at the line of scrimmage. There were a couple of directions really with that position and there were a handful of No. 2’s that either I have worked with, or we felt comfortable with. In this case, I think he’s a No. 2 whose arrow is moving in a direction where we feel like he can become an NFL starter in our league. 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. Quietly, that was an important sign for us.”

In the event Wilson continues to struggle, it appears that Payton is okay with a scenario where Stidham could step into a starting role at some point.

For the sake of everybody in Broncos Country, hope remains present that the ride will be much smoother this season under Payton.