West Notes: Broncos, Lynch, Sanchez, 49ers

The Broncos appear to want rookie quarterback Paxton Lynch to play at some point during the upcoming season, according to Mike Klis of 9NEWS. While it would still be an “upset” if veteran Mark Sanchez doesn’t win the starting job, Denver management would like to see Lynch see live action when the regular season begins. As Klis suggests, Lynch is thought to be relatively raw developmentally and his learning curve might be steep, so it would behoove the club to let Lynch take some snaps during the year. However, the Broncos aren’t likely to turn to Sanchez if the team is playing well, so the only chance for Lynch to see the field might be if Denver starts the season slow.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two West divisions:

  • The best contract on the Broncos‘ roster belongs to cornerback Chris Harris, opines Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap, who adds the Harris will earn $6.5MM over a five-year period than will teammate Aqib Talib (and Harris is probably the better defensive back). Denver pulled a “con job” on Harris and his camp, writes Fitzgerald, tagging on option years at the end of the deal, while employing a bonus structure that would allow the club to earn a salary cap credit if the options aren’t exercised. On the flip side, the worst contract in the Mile High City is that of offensive tackle Donald Stephenson, who agreed to a three-year, $14MM deal over the offseason. Clearly (given those terms), this pact isn’t very onerous, and Fitzgerald notes that general manager John Elway has become so adept at financial negotiations that the Broncos simply aren’t carrying many poor contracts.
  • After struggling against opposing quarterbacks in 2015 (and ranking 30th in defensive passing DVOA), the 49ers didn’t use any of their ample cap space to pursue outside additions to their secondary. But as Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com writes, San Francisco has used seven draft picks on defensive backs over the past three years, so the club has made a significant investment in improving its back end. Tramaine Brock looks like he’ll grab hold of one starting corner job in 2016, while former first-round safety Jimmie Ward is nearly a lock to serve as the Niners’ nickel corner, and could compete for time on the outside as well. Meanwhile, third-rounder Will Redmond, who tore his ACL last October, is a candidate to open training camp on the non-football injury list, and is unlikely to see much playing time during his rookie season.
  • Earlier today, Troy Renck of Denver7 suggested that safety Omar Bolden — recently released by the Bears — could wind up back with the Broncos, noting that his release was not injury related. At the very least, Bolden could help out on special teams in Denver, as he was one of the club’s primary kick returners over the past four years.
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