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Russell Wilson will be replaced at quarterback by Jarrett Stidham for Denver’s final two games, according to a source. Geneva Heffernan/Associated Press

The Denver Broncos are benching quarterback Russell Wilson in a move that could have major ramifications for both his future and theirs.

Although the move keeps open the team’s options next year and could ultimately save the Broncos $37 million, Coach Sean Payton on Wednesday called the switch to journeyman Jarrett Stidham more of a football decision than a financial one.

“I understand all the speculation and everything that surrounds a move like that, and I can tell you we’re desperately trying to win,” Payton said. “Sure, in our game today there are economics and all those other things, but the No. 1 push behind this … is to get a spark offensively.”

The Broncos (7-8) have a narrow path to the playoffs. They’d have to win out and Kansas City (9-5) would have to lose out for Denver to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2015 season.

Payton said the entire offensive operation, himself included, has been deficient and this move isn’t meant as an indictment of Wilson alone.

“I can’t replace the entire offensive line, I can’t bring in five new receivers,” Payton said, “and if it continues over a period of time, then there’ll be another guy here talking to you, as well.”
Stidham will start Sunday when the Broncos host the Chargers (5-10) and in all likelihood start at Las Vegas in the season finale, too.


GIANTS: After a six-week run as New York’s starting quarterback, the Tommy DeVito feel-good story is over, at least for now.

The undrafted rookie free agent who grew up less than 30 minutes from MetLife Stadium is being replaced by veteran Tyrod Taylor as the starter for this weekend’s game against the Los Angeles Rams, Coach Brian Daboll said.

Daboll informed the quarterbacks on Tuesday, adding he felt the 34-year-old Taylor provided a spark on Christmas Day after taking over for DeVito in the second half of a loss in Philadelphia.

TEXANS: Quarterback C.J. Stroud returned to practice on a limited basis, but the star rookie remains in the concussion protocol and his status for Sunday’s game against Tennessee is uncertain.

Stroud has missed the past two games after sustaining a concussion in a Dec. 10 loss to the Jets when his head bounced off the turf after taking a hit with about 6½ minutes left in the fourth quarter.

JAGUARS: Quarterback Trevor Lawrence was a spectator at practice, giving his sprained right shoulder time to heal while insisting he will “do anything I can to be out there and play.”


Lawrence wore a wristband and held a play-calling sheet during practice, though, an indication he’s planning to play when the Jaguars (8-7) host Carolina (2-13) on Sunday. But Lawrence acknowledged that this injury is different from the others he’s dealt with this season.

 COMMANDERS: Jacoby Brissett is set to start at quarterback for Washington when they host the NFC-leading San Francisco 49ers, a decision Coach Ron Rivera framed as a chance for Sam Howell to get a breather late in a long season with the team long out of playoff contention.

Brissett takes over after Howell was pulled from each of the past two games, most recently a 30-28 loss at the New York Jets in which he was 6 of 22 with two interceptions. The 31-year-old journeyman is on track to be the 13th different QB to start for Washington since 2018, and at least one more could be coming next season when new ownership puts another regime in charge.

PACKERS: Cornerback Jaire Alexander has been suspended one game by the team for his actions during the coin toss preceding a 33-30 victory at Carolina on Sunday.

Packers General Manager Brian Gutekunst announced that Alexander was being suspended for conduct detrimental to the team. The suspension means Alexander won’t play for the Packers (7-8) during their Sunday night game at Minnesota (7-8) in a matchup critical to both teams’ playoff hopes.

Although Alexander hadn’t been selected as a team captain for the game with the Panthers, he still came out for the coin toss. He nearly cost his team by initially saying the Packers wanted to be on defense first rather than saying they deferred the option. The Packers received a break when referee Alex Kemp asked Alexander to clarify.

JETS: New York signed kicker Austin Seibert to the practice squad as insurance for Greg Zuerlein, who’s questionable to play at Cleveland on Thursday night because of an injured right quadriceps.

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