Over the past several weeks, NFL scouts have been targeting the UFL players they plan to invite to training camp. But the pendulum swings both ways and right now, a recently released NFL quarterback could help determine the playoff picture for one UFL team.

The Denver Broncos just announced they are releasing veteran quarterback Ben DiNucci and the timing couldn’t be better for a UFL team, on the verge of making the playoffs, to add him to their roster. In addition to his NFL experience, DiNucci led the Seattle Sea Dragons to a playoff berth and has an outstanding XFL resume.

The Early Years

A graduate of James Madison University, DiNucci was named the CAA Offensive Player of the Year. In his senior year, he earned a 71% completion average, passing for 3,441 yards with 29 touchdowns. DiNucci added another 569 rushing yards with seven touchdowns.

Selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the seventh round of the 2020 draft, DiNucci played in his first NFL game on October 25, 2020, when quarterback Andy Dalton exited the game in the third quarter with a concussion. After throwing his first pass, a beautiful 32-yard completion to Amari Cooper, DiNucci was sacked three times in twelve snaps and the Cowboys lost the game 25 to 3.

But after starting just one game as a backup quarterback for the Cowboys, DiNucci began the familiar NFL merry-go-round of being signed, released, and resigned. Released by the team for the second time in August of 2022, he was drafted by the XFL Seattle Sea Dragons in November of 2022.

DiNucci became a standout quarterback with the Sea Dragons, passing for a league-leading 272 /374 completions for 2,671 yards with 20 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He also had another three rushing touchdowns. Starting all ten games for the Sea Dragons, DiNucci finished the season with a record of 7-3, which qualified the team for a playoff berth.

His record with Seattle brought him to the attention of the Broncos who brought DiNucci on board in May of 2023 as a backup to Russell Wilson and Jarrett Stidham. Although Denver signed DiNucci to a future/reserves contract in January 2024, he subsequently became a casualty of the Bo Nix draft and the offseason acquisition of Zach Wilson. Although DiNucci never had a chance to make an impact in Denver, he could be the perfect late-season acquisition for a UFL team.

DiNucci brings talent, leadership, and maturity. He understands this latest hiccup is typical of the NFL. As he shared last evening on X, it’s “All part of the journey !!” For a veteran quarterback who has experienced the highs and lows of the sport, he’s ready for the next challenge, and the road ahead could lead straight to the UFL playoffs.

The Road To the UFL Playoffs

As a skilled NFL quarterback looking for his next team, the two UFL teams where DiNucci is most needed are the (4-2) San Antonio Brahams and the (4-2) Michigan Panthers. Both teams lost their starting quarterbacks earlier in the season when Chase Garbers and E.J. Perry suffered season-ending injuries. Danny Etling assumed the starting assignment for the Panthers in week 4 and has a record of 41/65 for 482 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Etling earned another 97 rushing yards on 18 carries with one touchdown.

Although these are solid numbers, Perry looked sensational the week before he was injured. Through the first four games, Perry was 55/89 for 664 yards with two touchdowns, three interceptions, and 23/152 in rushing with a league-leading four touchdowns. Since his absence, Perry’s ability to run the ball has been missed. Of the 97 rushing yards Etling contributed, 40 came from a single play. DiNucci’s ability to run the football and score touchdowns could provide a significant boost for a team that relies primarily on the strength of their strong defense and their spectacular kicker, Jake Bates.

The San Antonio Brahmas suffered a tough 18-12 loss last week against their division rival, the D.C. Defenders. Quarterback Quinten Dormady has filled in for the injured Chase Garbers who went down with a wrist injury early in the season. Through two and a half games, Garbers looked outstanding, earning a 70.8% completion rate of 75/106 for 586 yards with six touchdowns and one interception.

Since taking over for Garbers, Dormady has earned a 62.4% completion rate, throwing 58/93 with three touchdowns and five interceptions. Although Dormady produced another 35 yards on the ground in 10 carries, the Brahmas have the luxury of the league’s number-one running back in John Lovett this season. Boasting a league-leading 348 rushing yards on 74 carries, Lovett has four rushing touchdowns plus six catches for 28 yards and one touchdown.

In addition to Lovett’s superior rushing ability, the Brahmas possess the strongest defense in the league with the trio of Jordan Williams, Jordan Mosley, and Tavante Becket who account for 142 tackles, one interception, two forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries between them. The skillset that DiNucci brings to the quarterback position could benefit the team.

With the surging D.C. Defenders only one game behind in the division standings, the Brahmas could use a stronger passing game to complement Lovett’s rushing ability. DiNucci’s experience and leadership ability could be the key that will lock the Brahmas into that number two playoff spot.


author avatar
Sue Levine
Sue Levine spent the past five years creating and producing a successful weekly health and wellness podcast starring a wonderful iconic woman as the program host. As part of Sue's responsibilities, she scripted every episode and discovered a genuine love of writing. When the podcast ended late last year, she shifted the focus of her writing to covering pro sports. A passionate fan of NFL and UFL football as well as fantasy, she is delighted to be able to share her articles with other football fans.

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