NFL insider hints Broncos won’t trade up, can win with Jarrett Stidham

Mar 22, 2024, 4:19 PM | Updated: 4:38 pm

Jarrett Stidham is the Broncos’ QB1 as of now.

But that notion might be a tough sell to Broncos Country going into the 2024 season.

Still, what NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport dropped during a question-and-answer session with draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah on NFL+ Friday was fascinating. And, for those who want the Broncos to select a new quarterback early in next month’s NFL Draft, his words were not promising.

Jeremiah asked Rapoport about which team among the Broncos and Raiders would make the most sense to jump in the draft for a quarterback.

“The Raiders probably make the most sense in getting a quarterback. Sean Payton has won with a lot of quarterbacks who are not as good as Jarrett Stidham,” Rapoport said.

“I do think they’ll add a quarterback, but I don’t know that the urgency is there because [Stidham] is so good that I think they say, ‘You know what? We can take some raw materials and we will get that person to perform.'”

For the record, Sean Payton has won games as an NFL head coach or assistant coach with 16 different starting quarterbacks. And of the 20 quarterbacks to start for him — whether as an assistant or head coach — nine of them were the starters for more regular-season wins than losses with Payton on the sideline.

That group includes:

  • Kent Graham, Giants, 1999 (5-4, .556)
  • Drew Bledsoe, Cowboys, 2005 (9-7, .563)
  • Kerry Collins, Giants, 1999-2002 (31-24, .564)
  • Quincy Carter, Cowboys, 2003 (10-6, .625)
  • Drew Brees, Saints, 2006-20 (135-77, .637)
  • Jameis Winston, Saints, 2021 (5-2, .714)
  • Taysom Hill, Saints, 2020-21 (7-2, .778)
  • Teddy Bridgewater, Saints, 2018-19 (5-1, .833)
  • Drew Henson, Cowboys, 2004 (1-0, 1.000)

Of those quarterbacks, the ones who could objectively be considered “not as good” as Stidham, per Rapoport’s wording, would be Graham, Carter and Henson. Perhaps Hill, although his skill set isn’t analogous to Stidham’s.

Then you have the 11 other quarterbacks to start for Payton:

  • Jarrett Stidham, Broncos, 2023 (1-1, .500)
  • Russell Wilson, Broncos, 2023 (7-8, .467)
  • Rodney Peete, Eagles, 1997-98 (3-5, .375)
  • Vinny Testaverde, Cowboys, 2004 (5-10, .333)
  • Ty Detmer, Eagles, 1997 (2-5, .286)
  • Bobby Hoying, Eagles, 1997-98 (3-9-1, .269)
  • Koy Detmer, Eagles, 1998 (1-6, .143)
  • Trevor Siemian, Saints, 2021 (0-4, .000)
  • Ian Book, Saints, 2021 (0-1, .000)
  • Mark Brunell, Saints, 2009 (0-1, .000)
  • Luke McCown, Saints, 2015 (0-1, .000)

So, yes, Payton technically has won with quarterbacks “not as good as Jarrett Stidham.” But not to a significant degree.


Last year at the NFL Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Payton defended the free-agent pickup of Jarrett Stidham, who the Broncos signed to a 2-year, $10-million contract to be Russell Wilson’s backup.

“In this case, I think, it’s a No. 2 that his arrow is moving in a direction where we feel like he can become an NFL starter in our league,” Payton said last year.

“So, 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. And, so, that was quietly an important [signing] for us.”


The answer? Perhaps not very well.


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