Paxton Lynch is on thin ice in Denver. The Broncos say they believe in him, but everything they do indicates he could be on the trading block soon.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this for Paxton Lynch. When the Denver Broncos chose him in the first round of the 2016 Draft the team unofficially anointed him their quarterback of the future. Now, just entering his third NFL season, Lynch is already fighting for his future with the Broncos.
Sure, the team’s front office continues to say all the right things about their young signal caller. They shelled out big money to bring in Case Keenum this summer on a massive two-year contract, but coach Vance Joseph insists that isn’t a sign they’ve given up on Lynch. Instead, he tries to spin it as a positive for the former Memphis Tiger.
Joseph claims the establishment of Keenum as the starter has “taken a huge weight” off of Lynch. It’s true that he doesn’t have to worry any longer about trying to win the starting job throughout training camp and the preseason. Given the team’s investment in Keenum it’s almost impossible, barring injury, that anyone else will start under center for Denver in Week One.
If you take the Broncos statements at face value, it’s conceivable that Lynch could still be in their long-term plans. They committed big time money to Keenum but it’s only a two-year deal. Both he and Lynch’s contracts project to run out in the same offseason. Functionally, Lynch would seem to have a two-year window to beat out Keenum to become the man in Denver.
The trouble is that Denver officials aren’t even handing Lynch the backup job at this point. Joseph went on record with his belief that Lynch “needs to compete to be our backup.” That should serve as a huge red flag for anyone who believes Lynch has a bright future in the Mile High city.
The only other quarterback on the roster is former seventh round pick Chad Kelly. When a team’s first round quarterback from the 2016 Draft is locked in a training camp battle with its seventh round pick from the 2017 Draft it’s a problem for the former first rounder. The fact that Kelly and Lynch are involved in any sort of competition is a clear indictment on Lynch’s progression.
Denver aren’t just saying nice things about Lynch in the press to help boost his ego. Instead, they’re doing their best to make sure he still has value around the NFL. If Kelly beats him out for the backup job this preseason then Denver will look to recoup something of value for Lynch in a trade.
Convincing another team to part with a valuable asset for Lynch may be impossible at this point. Actions speak louder than words and Denver’s personnel moves have spoken volumes. Only a foolish front office would still believe Lynch has a chance to become Denver’s starting quarterback in the near future.
The best the Broncos can hope for is a late round selection in exchange for their former first rounder. That’s evidence of just how far Paxton Lynch’s stock has fallen in two short years.