Broncos surprisingly cut a quarterback ahead of Tuesday’s deadline
Aug 29, 2023, 8:28 AM
The Denver Broncos will not be taking advantage of the NFL’s new rule encouraging teams to carry a third quarterback it appears. Ahead of Tuesday’s deadline to cut down the roster to 53 men, the Broncos cut third-string quarterback Ben DiNucci.
DiNucci had seemed like a Sean Payton guy plus the new incentive to carry a third quarterback after the 49ers NFC Championship Game debacle seemed like it’d add up to the former XFL star getting onto the Broncos. Behind Russell Wilson and Jarrett Stidham, DiNucci threw for 187 yards on 21-of-31 passing in the preseason, adding two touchdowns—with a bulk of that work coming in the Week 3 blowout of the Los Angeles Rams.
But DiNucci, who only has played in three NFL regular season games—all with the Dallas Cowboys in 2020—didn’t fit the plan.
The 26-year-old Pittsburgh and James Maddison product was the 2023 XFL passing leader with the Seattle Sea Dragons. In college, he was a CAA standout leading the Cowboys to pick him in the seventh round.
Given Wilson has missed some time due to injuries in each of the last two seasons it’s certainly possible that the Broncos will need a third-string quarterback. Last year Denver never went deeper on the depth chart than backup Brett Rypien and this year they’ll hope to only have to use Stidham in case of an emergency.
Stidham was a bigger-name free-agent pickup for the Broncos and it was fairly obvious he’d win the second-team job. Stidham was a fourth-round pick by the New England Patriots in 2019. Current Las Vegas Raiders head coach, Josh McDaniels, who was the Patriots offensive coordinator at the time, liked him enough to get him to Vegas. The former Auburn Tiger Stidham became available this winter and Denver scooped him up.
Stidham has played in 13 games, throwing for 926 yards at a 58.8 percent completion rate. He has six TDs to seven interceptions.
Don’t be shocked if DiNucci lands a backup job elsewhere, though he’d be a good candidate for Denver’s practice squad if he sneaks past the other 31 teams.