Denver Broncos land $10m QB to join underperforming Russell Wilson

Jarrett Stidham has signed with the Denver Broncos to back up starting quarterback Russell Wilson in 2023. The former New England Patriots and Las Vegas Raiders signal-caller reportedly agreed terms on a two-year deal with the Broncos on Monday, keeping Stidham in the AFC West.

The NFL’s legal tampering period began at 11am CT (4pm GMT) on Monday. Ahead of free agency beginning, the NFL legal tampering period opens to allow teams to get a head start on negotiating with players as teams have the right to discuss ‘all aspects of an NFL player contract’ without actually signing a deal. 

Nothing can be made official during the tampering period but both teams and players can agree deals before signing and confirming them once the new league year begins. However, plenty of deals get agreed – and Stidham has discovered his new home.

Stidham has signed a two-year deal worth $10million (£8.2m) to join the Broncos, according to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. The agreement includes $5m guaranteed with an additional $4m available in incentives. 

Selected in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft in 2019, Stidham started the first two games of his career for the Raiders in 2022 after the team surprisingly announced starter Derek Carr had been benched. The 26-year-old completed 63.9 percent of his passes for 656 yards and four touchdowns while throwing three interceptions in those starts.

The former Auburn star never started a game in New England. Many were excited for Stidham to compete for the starting job after Tom Brady signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020, but Cam Newton claimed the position after signing late in the offseason. 

Stidham decided to join heralded new Broncos head coach Sean Payton along with quarterback coach Davis Webb, who Stidham has reportedly known since he was a teenager. He provides an upgrade over Brett Rypien in 2023 and beyond, as Stidham joined Patrick Mahomes as the only quarterbacks to throw three touchdown passes against the dominant San Francisco 49ers defence last season. 

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Stidham will support Wilson as Denver attempts to turn things around following a tragic 5-12 season which saw them finish bottom of the division despite an offseason littered with hype. The Broncos have finished bottom of the AFC West for three straight years, and last season was not good enough after the franchise traded two first round picks, two seconds, a fifth and three players to acquire Wilson before signing him to a five-year contract extension worth $245m.

Wilson – a Super Bowl champion with the Seattle Seahawks – is under immense pressure to deliver in Denver. His mega contract means he is the second-highest paid player in the NFL after Aaron Rodgers, and the Green Bay Packers quarterback won the MVP award in 2020 and 2021. 

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