Insider Delivers Reality Check for Broncos QB About Training Camp Battle

Jarrett Stidham, Bo Nix, Zach Wilson, Denver Broncos

Getty Quarterback Bo NIx #10 of the Denver Broncos.

The Denver Broncos open mandatory minicamp on June 11 and the expectation that the trend of each Bo Nix, Jarrett Stidham, and Zach Wilson rotating days in OTAs is expected to continue. But it may not be a battle for the starting QB job, per se.

That is “Bo vs. Bo,” per 9News Mike Klis, referencing the rookie first-round pick who has done nothing to lose a spot he was projected to assume upon his arrival in Denver.

The real intrigue for the Broncos and Stidham in particular begins at QB2.

“I’ve said this a couple times since the week of the draft: Because of the way the contracts are structured for both Stidham and Wilson, Stidham has to outperform Wilson by leaps and bounds to become one of the top two quarterbacks,” Klis wrote on June 10.

Stidham has accepted the challenge of the Broncos’ retooled QB room.

Stidham is entering Year 2 of a two-year, $10 million contract. He carries a $10 million cap hit in 2024. However, only $1 million of his $7 million cap hit is guaranteed salary, per Over The Cap.

Wilson is guaranteed his full $2.7 million in the final year of his four-year, $35 million contract.

The Broncos declined the former No. 2 overall pick’s $22 million fifth-year option for next season. The Broncos are not tied to either veteran QB, whether they want to part with them after the season or at any point before then.

Klis is clear that his assessment is based on a limited viewing window of three practices. But Stiham is ahead of the former New York Jet in the early going even if they are both behind Nix.

Jarrett Stidham Leads Zach Wilson in Race to be Broncos’ QB2

Jarrett Stidham, Bo Nix, Denver Broncos

GettyQuarterbacks Jarrett Stidham #8 and Bo Nix #10 of the Denver Broncos.

“Judging by what we’ve seen, Jarrett Stidham was the best quarterback on two of the three days and was tied with Bo Nix for another,” Klis wrote. “Zach Wilson has yet to find his rhythm. He’s got a nice throwing motion. The ball flings out of his hand with ease. But he hasn’t been connecting on big throws, at least not what we’ve seen.”

This has been the theme of reports coming out of OTAs. Mandatory minicamp will be Wilson’s next opportunity to prove he is where he needs to be before training camp in late July.

It could also be Stidham’s last shake.

The Broncos adding two quarterbacks to the room was already an ominous sign. That one of them is a first-round pick makes Stidham’s outlook even bleaker. Head Coach Sean Payton’s comments about how long they worked on acquiring Wilson could also be telling.

Klis notes that Nix will start whenever he is ready, adding that the youngster looks the part already. Stidham is on his third team going into his fifth season, all spent as a backup.

But there was a time when Payton touted Stidham as a potential starter.

Sean Payton Takes Softer Stance on Jarrett Stidham

Jarrett Stidham, Denver Broncos

GettyQuarterback Jarrett Stidham #8 of the Denver Broncos.

Payton took a noticeably softer stance on the former New England Patriot and Las Vegas Raider during the Annual Meeting in Orlando.

He also noted the difference in transition for the two Broncos QBs on the bubble.

“There’s about three strains of language in our league, I’d say. You have the West Coast strain, you’ve got the old digit system, and then you have kind of what the Patriots had run; Ron Earhart, and Bill Belichick, and [Bill] Parcells,” Payton told reporters on June 4. “Jared had come from that strain.

“I’d say that there’s a pretty significant you know iPhone-to-Android adjustment there. Whereas in Zach’s case, there’s some – a little bit more similarities relative to how things are called. Not all, but these guys pick that up pretty quickly.”

Given the Broncos’ actions this offseason, the writing may be on the wall for the veteran QB.