Broncos Head Coach Sean Payton explains why broncos elevated the 27-year-old backup QB…

The Denver Broncos executed a curious transaction on the eve of Sunday’s loss to Houston, elevating quarterback Ben DiNucci from the practice squad to the active roster. DiNucci was made inactive for the Week 13 tilt, ineligible to serve as the emergency third QB behind Russell Wilson and Jarrett Stidham.

Naturally, Broncos head coach Sean Payton was asked about the surprise promotion and subsequent game check — a reward for DiNucci’s unheralded services.

“[It’s a way to] invest in a player we see being here as a developmental player,” Payton said Monday, per The Denver Post, adding that DiNucci drew interest from another team “a long time ago.”

A former Dallas Cowboys spot-starter and 2023 XFL passing leader, DiNucci, 27, initially signed with the Broncos in May following an open tryout. He appeared in each of Denver’s preseason contests, throwing for 187 yards and two touchdowns, before being released at final cuts and re-signed to the taxi squad.

Though little chance he’s active over the stretch run — barring an injury to Wilson, who’s started every game this season — it’s clear the Broncos’ brain trust views DiNucci as more than just a third-string insurance policy.

“There’s a calmness about him—a little poise,” Payton said in August. “He’s played in games, and just recently, he finished playing a season. That’s why he’s here.”

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