Broncos Suggested to Sign ‘Legitimate Stopgap’ QB for Sean Payton’s Offense

Sean Payton

Getty Will Sean Payton consider a reunion with a top playmaker from his Saints days?

Since winning the 2016 Super Bowl, the Denver Broncos have been unable to solve its quarterback riddle.

Former Buffalo Bills general manager Doug Whaley, who was in Buffalo from 2013-17, provided a possible answer for head coach Sean Payton in 2024.

During his January 10 appearance on “The Fan Morning Show” on 93.7 The Fan, Whaley believes the Broncos should be a top free agent destination for Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph.

“Think about this, Sean Payton doesn’t need a mobile quarterback. That type of offense, timing, precise accuracy type thing, every once in and while, a calculated deep shot, it kind of fits what he does. This guy [Rudolph] will be a legitimate stopgap, the way he’s playing right now,” Whaley said.

Pittsburgh selected Rudolph out of Oklahoma State in the third round of the 2018 NFL draft. The veteran quarterback has been with the Steelers all six years of his NFL career.

Per Spotrac, Rudolph signed a one-year $1.08 million contract in May 2023 to remain in Pittsburgh. He is set to be a free agent once the Steelers’ season concludes.

Rudolph is set to make his first career playoff start in a Wild Card Round matchup against the Buffalo Bills on January 15.

Mason Rudolph Guided the Steelers Into a Surprising Playoff Bid

The Steelers earned the seventh seed in the AFC playoffs and have Rudolph to thank for getting them there.

Pittsburgh was left for dead at 7-7 and called on Rudolph to provide a spark in the final three games. Rudolph was 3-0 in his three starts, earning wins over the Cincinnati Bengals, Seattle Seahawks and Baltimore Ravens.

The Oklahoma State product threw three touchdown passes to zero interceptions in that stretch. Amazingly, each of his touchdowns went for over 60 yards, finishing one behind Tua Tagovailoa for the most in the NFL this season.

In a Week 16 win over the Bengals, Rudolph had one of the best performances of his career. He completed 17-of-27 passes for 290 yards and two touchdown passes, finishing with a 124.0 passer rating.

Rudolph has gone 8-4-1 in 13 starts during his six-year career. If Payton and the Broncos express interest, the team would get an experienced veteran with a high upside.

Door Remains Open for Russell Wilson to Return in 2024

Part of figuring out the quarterback position in 2024 is resolving the ongoing Russell Wilson saga first.

Payton hinted to local media during a January 9 press conference that the door for Wilson’s return remains open.

“We’ll look at all the scenarios and try to do what’s best for the Broncos, but communication will be important and that final decision has not been made,” Payton said.

Wilson was benched for backup Jarrett Stidham following a 26-23 loss to the AFC-worst New England Patriots on Christmas Eve. Stidham went 1-1 as a starter in the final two games as Denver clinched a seventh-straight losing season.

Local media also pressed general manager George Paton on Wilson. Paton insisted asking Wilson to change the injury guarantees in his contract was “completely independent” from the “football decision” Payton made in benching Wilson.

“I’ll just keep the specifics private out of respect for really everyone involved, Paton told reporters on January 9. “Negotiations are hard. You have difficult conversations, tough conversations, and you can characterize negotiations really any way you want. We always try to handle ourselves professionally and in the best interests of the Broncos, and this was no different.”

Time will tell if the Broncos decide to retain Wilson for 2024. All options should be on the table for an organization that has not reached the postseason since the 2015 campaign.

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