Denver Broncos are facing an unenviable dilemma with second-year quarterback Paxton Lynch.
Despite his immense physical talent, it was clear in training camp and preseason game action that Lynch is nowhere near ready to be a starting NFL quarterback. The former Memphis star’s development was stalled even further after he suffered an injury to his right (throwing) shoulder in Denver’s final preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals.
With Lynch out for an extended period of time (he just started on a light throwing program this week), the Broncos signed embattled veteran Brock Osweiler to be their backup behind Trevor Siemian. While Osweiler has plenty of flaws, he has also proven that he can consistently manage an offense effectively enough to win games in the NFL.
With Siemian entrenched as the team’s starter and Osweiler — whose salary for 2017 is fully guaranteed — behind him, it would have made perfect sense for the Broncos to put Lynch on injured reserve. Yet, for reasons that are difficult to comprehend, the 2016 first-round pick remains on the Broncos’ active 53-man roster.
Simply put, with the way the Broncos’ season is going, they have no use for Lynch in 2017. They are 3-1, their defense is again playing at a championship-caliber level, their rushing attack has been borderline dominant, and Siemian, despite a couple of back-to back below-average performances, has played well enough that he doesn’t have to worry about job security.
The only scenario where activating, and potentially playing, Lynch would make sense is if the Broncos struggle coming out of their bye week on Sunday, can’t recover and fall out of playoff contention. They could then get him some pressure-free experience and decide how they want to handle him going forward. But as long as Denver’s playoff hopes are alive, though, there is really no reason Denver should even toy with the idea of putting Lynch on the field.
In a perfect world, the Broncos could trade Lynch to another quarterback-hungry franchise. Given his injury status, however, a trade is highly unlikely. The smart move for the Broncos would be to place Lynch on season-ending IR, which would also free up a roster spot for either outside linebacker Shane Ray or tight end Jake Butt, who are both expected to return from injury in the next couple of weeks.
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