Now that Denver’s draft has come and gone without a marquee quarterback addition, general manager John Elway insists former first-round pick Paxton Lynch has a new lease on life with the Broncos.
Although Lynch has faceplanted in multiple opportunities to beat out Trevor Siemian — now banished to Minneapolis as Kirk Cousins’ backup — Elway isn’t prepared to throw in the towel on a major investment.
“We are not kicking him to the curb,” Elway said, via Mike Klis of KUSA in Denver. “He can still develop. When we drafted him two years ago, as I said, we knew it was going to take some time.”
The coaching staff is running out of development time, however, as Elway has just one more year to decide whether to pick up the fifth-year option on Lynch’s rookie contract.
Entering his third season since the Broncos thwarted the Cowboys’ attempt to trade up for his services, the rocket-armed former Memphis star has no shot to unseat Case Keenum for Denver’s starting job. In fact, Lynch must hold off Chad Kelly — the final pick in the 2017 NFL Draft — just to earn the visor and clipboard this year.
“Paxton is going to compete with Chad for that backup spot,” Elway added. “We are not going to bring another one in for OTAs. We will take a peek at that. It will be those two and Case.”
Lynch has managed an anemic 76.7 passer rating on 128 career attempts, showing a disturbing penchant for taking sacks and failing to move the chains. Even if Elway’s offensive line merits an ample portion of the blame, we now know that sack totals tell us as much about the quarterback as the blocking. Lynch has simply looked lost under center in five NFL appearances.
After reviewing Lynch’s game film early this offseason, the Broncos’ brass aggressively recruited Keenum, handing over $25 million in guaranteed money.
Elway can’t be blamed for maintaining a public display of faith in a first-round draft bust, but his actions speak louder than his words.