Ben DiNucci

Broncos To Waive QB Ben DiNucci

Ben DiNucci‘s season back in the NFL came in Denver, with the Broncos giving the former Cowboys backup-turned-XFL starter another shot. A 2024 overhaul of the team’s QB room will change its plans regarding DiNucci.

The team will waive the reserve passer, ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler tweets. The Broncos added both Zach Wilson and Bo Nix to their QB room during draft week, and Jarrett Stidham remains on the roster. DiNucci’s exit will leave three QBs on Denver’s 90-man roster.

Catching on with the Broncos in May 2023, DiNucci came over after a season in the third XFL incarnation. A member of the Seattle Sea Dragons, DiNucci led XFL 3.0 in passing yards (2,671) while throwing 20 touchdowns and 13 interceptions over 10 starts. The spring-league opportunity created NFL interest, and the Broncos kept DiNucci around throughout last season. Denver gave DiNucci a reserve/futures contract in January.

The Broncos had taken care of DiNucci, 27, after he made the decision to stay with the team rather than move to the Saints’ active roster. New Orleans had attempted to poach DiNucci off Denver’s P-squad following a Derek Carr injury last season, but DiNucci opted to remain the AFC West team’s emergency third-stringer behind Russell Wilson and Stidham. The Broncos ended up elevating DiNucci to their active roster three times, covering the QB, as he would have been required to remain on the Saints’ active roster (and see game checks that come with that status) for at least three weeks had he left for New Orleans.

Last seeing regular-season action in 2020 with the Cowboys, DiNucci saw preseason time for the Broncos last year. While the Broncos could need a fourth QB at some point this offseason, each of their three options are healthy. Nix’s development will define Denver’s spring and summer, and the coaching staff will also need to focus on training Wilson in Sean Payton‘s system. This move will leave Stidham as the only Denver QB with previous experience in the current scheme.

A former seventh-round Cowboys pick out of James Madison, DiNucci spent the 2022 season out of football after being a Dallas cut that summer. The former Pittsburgh recruit would profile as a player of interest to the newly formed United Football League, but that season is more than halfway over. Not being claimed on the waiver wire could stall DiNucci’s career.

NFL Reserve/Futures Deals: 1/8/24

Many teams have started signing players to reserve/futures contracts, allowing organization to retain (routinely) young, practice squad players. Here are the latest reserve/futures contracts:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

  • OL Barry Wesley

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Denver Broncos

Indianapolis Colts

Las Vegas Raiders

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

  • LB Brandon Bouyer-Randle, WR Davion Davis, CB D’Angelo Mandell

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/23/23

Saturday’s gameday elevations and other minor moves around the league:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys 

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New York Jets

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

The Bills will not have depth running back Ty Johnson available for tonight’s game, leading to the decision to elevate Fournette. The former Super Bowl champion will thus make his Buffalo debut, although with lead back James Cook in the lineup, Fournette will likely not receive many looks on offense. The latter has already returned a kickoff for the first time in his career, however.

Signed to the Dolphins’ practice squad last week, Ingram will also make his 2023 debut in Week 16. The 34-year-old last played during his Miami stint in 2022, during which time he started three games and recorded six sacks. With Jaelan Phillips out for the year, Ingram will look to once again give the Dolphins a rotational presence off the edge.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/16/23

Today’s minor transactions and standard gameday elevations for the Sunday slate of games:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

Wilkinson returned to practice this week, and will be eligible to return to the lineup on Sunday given today’s activation. The addition of a starter up front will be welcomed by the Cardinals by giving them stability at the left guard spot in particular and by providing an upgrade in protection ahead of a matchup against the stout 49ers defensive front in general. The Cardinals now have four IR activations remaining.

Street was acquired from the Eagles at the trade deadline after he failed to find playing time this season. The 27-year-old has started all five of his appearances in Atlanta, however, racking up 14 tackles (including four for a loss) and one sack. Those numbers will help his free agent market this offseason, but a pectoral injury will sideline him for at least four weeks. If the Falcons fall short of the postseason, therefore, Street will not return in 2023.

McCain was a full-time starter with the Commanders over the past two seasons, but his release led to a one-year Giants agreement. The former fifth-rounder has 87 starts to his name, but he has been unable to carve out a role in New York’s secondary, playing only 19 defensive snaps. McCain has logged a 50% snap share on special teams, however, so his absence in the third phase will be notable if he is claimed off waivers or signed as a free agent by an interested team.

NFC South Notes: Fitterer, Mayfield, Saints

With the Panthers bottoming out and David Tepper firing another head coach, it has seemed likely the team will move on from its GM as well. Given Tepper’s comments, it is worth wondering how much power Scott Fitterer has held since Matt Rhule‘s October 2022 firing. But Fitterer is clearly on a hot seat in Carolina. Following Frank Reich‘s ouster, the team should be expected to move on from its third-year GM, per the Washington Post’s Jason La Canfora. Fitterer ran point on the decision to reject the Rams’ two-first-rounder offer for Brian Burns before the 2022 trade deadline, and his negotiations with Ryan Poles led to the March blockbuster for the Bryce Young draft slot.

Of course, it is widely believed Tepper drove the Panthers’ effort to select Young first overall. That process will lead to the Bears holding the Panthers’ 2024 first-round pick, which currently checks in at No. 1 overall. Fitterer hot-seat rumors surfaced before Reich’s firing, and although a November report pointed to Tepper keeping his GM around to help attract Lions OC Ben Johnson shed light on a possible lifeline for the ex-Seahawks exec, a 2024 housecleaning seems likelier given the events of 2023.

Here is the latest from the NFC South:

  • Baker Mayfield signed a one-year, $4MM Buccaneers deal in March, earning a starting job despite a rough 2022. Incentives exist in the sixth-year quarterback’s contract, and Fox Sports’ Greg Auman notes he has cashed in on some of those already. Mayfield has collected $500K by staying in the Bucs’ lineup, with Auman noting the team included $250K bumps for hitting the 55%, 65%, 75% and 85% snap rates. Mayfield staying healthy the rest of the way would lead to him adding $1MM in incentives. Additionally, Auman indicates a bonus exists for a Bucs playoff win. Although the Bucs are 6-7, they currently hold the NFC West tiebreaker. Mayfield is interested in staying with the Bucs beyond this season, though no known extension talks have occurred yet.
  • One of Mayfield’s current division rivals has not enjoyed a healthy season. Derek Carr has sustained two concussions and dealt with shoulder trouble, but the Saints‘ big-ticket QB addition has not missed a start. In addition to the head and shoulder issues, Carr has sustained three rib fractures this year, per NewOrleans.football’s Brooke Kirchhofer. In 10 seasons, Carr has only missed three career games due to injury. But his playing hurt has affected the Saints this season. While Carr’s completion percentage is up significantly from 2022, his QBR has dropped. Given a four-year, $150MM contract that includes $70MM fully guaranteed, Carr ranks 23rd in QBR through 13 games.
  • Michael Thomas has once again seen an injury take him out of New Orleans’ equation. The eighth-year wide receiver, who has dealt with persistent injury issues during the 2020s, is on IR with a knee injury. The former All-Pro will be eligible to be activated in Week 16, but NewOrleans.football’s Nick Underhill doubts he comes back until at least the Saints’ regular-season finale. Should that game not mean anything for the team, Thomas would have little incentive to return. The 30-year-old pass catcher’s 10 games this season are his most since 2019, but he has now missed 43 games since the 2020 season.
  • As Carr dealt with the first of his 2023 injuries, New Orleans attempted to sign a player off Denver’s practice squad. The Saints tried to add Ben DiNucci off the Broncos’ P-squad in September, per the Denver Gazette’s Chris Tomasson. DiNucci, who returned to the NFL after an XFL run, opted to stay where he was for continuity purposes. After DiNucci’s decision, the Saints added Jake Luton to their 53-man roster instead. DiNucci said the Broncos are expected to make up the difference he would have made as part of the Saints’ active roster. Denver elevated DiNucci in Week 13, allowing him to pick up a $48K game check. Doing so two more times would match the total DiNucci would have earned while on the Saints’ 53-man roster for the mandated three weeks.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/2/23

Today’s gameday callups and minor moves heading into Sunday:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

The Chiefs have ruled out running back Jerick McKinnon for tomorrow’s game against the Packers, necessitating some extra depth at the position. The team will turn to Prince, an undrafted free agent who has spent the entire season on Kansas City’s practice squad. Prince had a breakout season at Tulsa in 2022, finishing with 813 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns.

Winfrey, a 2022 fourth-round pick, was cut by the Browns last July after being investigated for pulling a gun on a woman. He joined the Jets practice squad in early November and will finally earn his first promotion of the season. Winfrey got into 13 games for Cleveland last year, collecting 22 tackles and 0.5 sacks.

At age 36, Irvin will be making his debut for a sixth NFL team. The veteran pass rusher signed with Detroit midway through November and will finally have a chance to extend his streak of regular season appearances to 12 straight years. The only absence on the Lions’ front-seven will be linebacker Alex Anzalone, so Detroit may be looking to stand Irvin up to help the team’s depth at linebacker.

 

Wednesday NFL Transactions: AFC West

Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline Tuesday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters. In addition to waiver claims, teams can begin constructing their 16-man practice squads today. These BroncosChargersChiefs and Raiders moves are noted below.

Denver Broncos

Claimed:

Waived:

Signed to practice squad:

Kansas City Chiefs

Claimed:

Waived:

Signed to practice squad:

Las Vegas Raiders

Placed on IR: 

Claimed:

Waived:

Signed to practice squad:

Los Angeles Chargers

Claimed:

Waived:

Signed to practice squad:

Reverted to IR:

Released from IR via injury settlement:

Broncos Place Baron Browning On Reserve/PUP List, Trim Roster To 53

The Broncos will join other teams in using short-term IR to create roster spots for veterans they cut Tuesday. The team also needed to use its reserve/PUP list. Here is how Denver moved down to the 53-man limit:

Released:

Waived/injured:

  • OLB Chris Allen

Placed on reserve/PUP list:

Browning suffered a meniscus injury this offseason and underwent surgery in June. This obviously deals a blow to Browning’s development, seeing as the converted off-ball linebacker has yet to play a full season at his second NFL position, and Denver’s edge depth. Randy Gregory and Frank Clark lead the way at the position; both are going into their age-30 seasons. The Broncos have seen Gregory, Von Miller and Bradley Chubb miss substantial time in recent years. They will hope Browning, who showed promise opposite Chubb at points last year, can return when eligible.

The Broncos did not place Jerry Jeudy on IR, keeping their No. 1 receiver available once his hamstring heals. This points to the team viewing Jeudy as likely to come back during the season’s first four weeks. Jeudy suffered a hamstring injury late last week; the malady is expected to sideline him for “several weeks.” The team is expected to re-sign Humphrey once it reorganizes its roster, 9News’ Mike Klis notes.

Although Purcell joined Humphrey as a cut, Klis adds the veteran nose tackle is set to come back. Ditto Moreau, as K’Waun Williams is set to head to IR — a designation that will cost the veteran slot cornerback at least four games — upon undergoing ankle surgery. The Broncos kept UDFAs Elijah Garcia, a defensive lineman, and Jaleel McLaughlin, a running back, after strong preseason outings. McLaughlin is the NCAA all-levels rushing kingpin, having amassed 8,161 yards while at Notre Dame College and Youngstown State — Division II and Division I-FCS programs, respectively, in Ohio. He will be the team’s third-string running back — behind Javonte Williams and Samaje Perine.

Minor NFL Transactions: 5/15/23

The first of this year’s spring leagues to debut, the XFL’s third effort, finished its season Saturday. XFL players are now free to sign NFL contracts, and several agreed to terms Monday. Here are those agreements, along with the other transactions from around the league:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

  • Signed: T BJ Wilson

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

  • Signed: RB Tyreik McAllister, RB Jacques Patrick
  • Waived: WR Dallas Daniels, DB Darrious Gaines, TE Kris Leach, RB Emanuel Wilson

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

After seeing the pandemic nix its second effort in 2020, the XFL concluded its season Saturday. The Broncos signed the league’s second-leading rusher, in Patrick, while the Browns and Cowboys offered Barqoo contracts, ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler tweets. Barqoo, who played for the Jaguars in 2020 and XFL’s San Antonio Brahmas this year, opted for the Steelers’ offer. Patrick, whom the Denver Gazette’s Chris Tomasson notes passed a Broncos physical Monday, finished with 443 rushing yards and five touchdowns. He joins XFL passing leader Ben DiNucci as a Broncos May addition.

Seeing time for the St. Louis BattleHawks, Jones-Smith played in three games apiece with Raiders and Ravens, respectively, from 2020-21. Thompson will join the Dolphins after a spring tour of duty with the Seattle Sea Dragons, while fellow XFL alum Brewer played in two games for the Bills last year. Heflin played five games for the Packers in 2021; the new Saint spent the XFL season with the Houston Roughnecks.

The Raiders gave Johnson a reserve/futures deal in January. The young wideout collected a ring with the 2020 Buccaneers and totaled 360 receiving yards for Tampa Bay’s 2021 iteration. While the Texans claimed him on waivers ahead of last season, he played in just two games with the team.

Jackson suited up for national championship-winning Georgia last season. The new Titans wideout finished with 514 receiving yards in 2020 and totaled 320 for last season’s Bulldogs edition. A Division II Quincy alum, Wilson received an East-West Shrine Bowl invite but tore an Achilles tendon late last season.

Broncos Sign XFL QB Ben DiNucci

After hosting the Seattle Sea Dragons quarterback for rookie minicamp, the Broncos have officially signed Ben DiNucci to their offseason roster, according to JL Sports agency. The XFL’s passing yards leader returns to the NFL after a year in the alternative league.

DiNucci was a seventh-round pick for the Cowboys in 2020 out of James Madison, after transferring over from Pitt. He played and started in relief of Andy Dalton that year to discouraging results, completing only 53.3 percent of his passes for 219 yards, no touchdowns, and no interceptions in three game appearances.

Garrett Gilbert, a more experienced backup passer, overcame him on the depth chart, leading to DiNucci’s release in the final roster cuts leading into the 2021 season. He remained on the team’s practice squad for that year and was finally released for good in final roster cuts leading into the 2022 season.

Being drafted by the Sea Dragons in the XFL’s draft, DiNucci joined former Bengals, Raiders, and Texans quarterback A.J. McCarron as the only XFL quarterbacks with NFL experience. He would go on to lead the fledgling league in passing yards in 2023 with 2,671 while throwing 20 touchdowns and 13 interceptions over 10 starts.

It’s unclear where DiNucci will fit into the pecking order at quarterback after nailing his audition in Denver. Behind starter Russell Wilson, the Broncos have two relievers in Jarrett Stidham and Jarrett Guarantano. Stidham started the final two games of the season for the Raiders last year against two teams that would make conference championship games, including a three-point loss to the 49ers. In those two starts, he completed 64.29 percent of his passes for 584 yards, four touchdowns, and three interceptions. He also added 84 yards on the ground on 14 rush attempts. Guarantano doesn’t have any NFL time after a disappointing end to his college career.

Likely, DiNucci will battle with Guarantano for the QB3 role, but DiNucci’s recent experience as a starter may give him a chance to push Stidham for QB2. We’ll be able to glean more once all the quarterbacks are in town for OTAs, but DiNucci should have a strong opportunity at winning a roster spot in Denver.