Mar 5, 2024 - Sports

The top quarterback candidates for the Broncos

A man wearing a navy blue helmet and white jersey with orange lining prepares to throw a football with his right hand during an American football game in Las Vegas.

Denver Broncos quarterback Jarrett Stidham during a game against the Las Vegas Raiders on Jan. 7, 2024 in Las Vegas. Photo: Candice Ward/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos face another quarterback crisis after announcing plans this week to release Russell Wilson.

The big picture: It's really anyone's guess who will be the team's QB. The good news is options are available.

Zoom in: The safest option is current starter Jarrett Stidham, who spent time last season as the first-stringer and has expressed a willingness to stick around.

  • San Francisco 49ers quarterback Sam Darnold could be another affordable choice. Local sports journalist Andrew Mason noted Broncos head coach Sean Payton has a good track record with "reclamation projects."
  • Gardner Minshew went 7-6 as a starter for the Indianapolis Colts last season. A free-agent, he could be another reasonably-priced quarterback, per the Denver Post.
  • The flashiest move might be trading for Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields. The Bears have the No. 1 pick in next month's NFL draft, and are widely expected to pick USC quarterback Caleb Williams.

Between the lines: While the draft is loaded with quarterback talent, it's unlikely Denver — with its 12th pick in the first round — can land a top prospect.

  • In addition to Williams, other top players include Oregon's Bo Nix, Washington's Michael Penix Jr., and Michigan's J.J. McCarthy.
  • Maybe the Broncos can find another hidden gem, the way San Francisco found Brock Purdy, the last pick in the 2022 draft and a starting quarterback in this year's Super Bowl.

The bottom line: This team needs a leader, not just a signal-caller.

  • Whoever earns the quarterback job in Denver will need to balance the weight of a Super Bowl-winning franchise with the expectations of its passionate fanbase.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to show Stidham didn't go undefeated as the starter.

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