Broncos Bench Russell Wilson, Will Start Jarrett Stidham at QB

The Denver Broncos have made the decision to bench Russell Wilson and start Jarrett Stidham as their quarterback for Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Chargers.


Broncos Bench Russell Wilson

The Denver Broncos, facing a looming decision about Russell Wilson's future with the organization, have benched the nine-time Pro Bowl quarterback for Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Broncos coach Sean Payton informed the team Wednesday morning that Jarrett Stidham will start Sunday with Wilson serving as the backup.

"I understand all the speculation and everything that surrounds a move like that," Payton said. "I can tell you -- look, we're desperately trying to win."

Financial Considerations

The quarterback change helps increase the Broncos' financial flexibility this upcoming offseason, as Wilson will make an additional $37 million in guaranteed money if he can't pass a physical by early March. An injury to Wilson in either of Denver's last two games of the season could trigger that guarantee.

Next season marks the first year of a five-year, $242.6 million extension signed in 2022 by Wilson, who already will make $39 million guaranteed in 2024.

"Sure, in our game today there are economics and all those other things," Payton said. "But the No. 1 push behind this -- and it's a decision I'm making -- is to get a spark offensively."

Improving the Offense

The move to Stidham also could provide a jump-start to a Denver offense that has been sluggish for much of the season. The Broncos (7-8) still have an outside chance at the postseason but have lost three of their past four games.

The Broncos dropped from 5-point favorites to 3-point favorites over the Chargers at ESPN BET after the news of Wilson's benching Wednesday afternoon.

The Broncos are 16th in the league in scoring (21.8 points per game), 20th on third down (36.7%), 31st in goal-to-go situations (53.6%) and 25th in passing (187.5 yards per game).