The Las Vegas Raiders moved on from starting quarterback Derek Carr this offseason, which left a hole on the roster. Jarrett Stidham replaced Carr in the starting lineup for the last two games of the season and played well in spurts. It looked like he did enough to earn a second contract and a chance to compete for the starting job in 2023.
General manager Dave Ziegler previously said that the plan was to try and bring back Stidham but negotiations didn’t go well. The veteran quarterback has signed a two-year deal worth $10 million with the Denver Broncos as first reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport on Monday, March 13.
This is a surprise move as Stidham seemed like a lock to stay with the Raiders due to his familiarity with Josh McDaniels’ system and a chance to start. There’s no doubt that Russell Wilson is the starting quarterback in Denver for now due to his contract. Even if he plays poorly, the Broncos can’t justify sitting a quarterback making $48.5 million a year. That said, $10 million to be a backup under a coach like Sean Payton is a very appealing situation for a young quarterback like Stidham.
Why Weren’t Raiders Able to Keep Jarrett Stidham?
The Raiders appeared motivated to keep Stidham, have plenty of salary cap space and a huge need at quarterback. With all that in mind, why weren’t they able to keep the quarterback? It must have come down to money. $10 million is a pretty penny to pay a backup quarterback. The Raiders likely didn’t view Stidham as a realistic option as the starter next year.
The team is going to draft a quarterback at some point during the draft and will also sign a veteran. They could be looking to add a quarterback with more starting experience. While Stidham knows McDaniels’ offense and played well last season, he only has two starts under his belt. It’s impossible to know if he can sustain success for more than a few games at a time. With so many other needs on the roster, giving a backup quarterback with two career starts $10 million is a luxury.
Jarrett Stidham’s Role in Denver
The Raiders will still be seeing plenty of Stidham as he’ll be staying in the AFC West and facing off against the team twice a year. Normally, a backup quarterback to a pricey superstar would hardly ever see the field. However, Payton is one of the most creative offensive minds in the NFL. In the past, he’s carved out roles for backup quarterbacks.
Stidham isn’t as big or athletic as Taysom Hill but he can make plays with his feet. Perhaps Payton sees Stidham playing a similar role. The coach could also have very little faith in Wilson. He looked like one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL last season and it’s fair to question if he can return to form. Payton wasn’t the one who paid him all that money and is only concerned with winning. If Wilson continues to struggle, it’s possible that Stidham will get some meaningful reps. While the Raiders provided the quarterback a clearer path to playing, the Broncos may also give him a chance over the next two years.