Paxton Lynch

Release Candidates: Seahawks QBs Geno Smith, Paxton Lynch

The Seahawks’ quarterback room has some serious name value. Behind starter Russell Wilson, the club is currently rostering both Geno Smith and Paxton Lynch

The odds of both players making the final cut is slim. Historically, the Seahawks have carried only two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster and both players have their warts.

Smith, a former second-round pick of the Jets, has yet to do much at the pro level. Once positioned as the Jets’ starting quarterback, his last attempt at NFL relevance was stopped by the fist of a teammate and a subsequently broken jaw. Lynch, a former first-round pick of the Broncos, lost the starting QB competition twice to former seventh-round pick Trevor Siemian.

To date, Lynch has four career starts on his resume with a 61.7% completion rate, 792 passing yards yards, four touchdowns, and four interceptions. Smith – who has 40 career appearances with 31 starts – hasn’t fared much better in a larger sample. He’s completed 57.7% of his throws with just 29 touchdowns against 36 picks.

One of these QBs will probably be out of Seattle by the time September rolls around, and there’s a chance that both will be gone. Last year, the Seahawks traded for Brett Hundley in the preseason and installed him as Wilson’s backup, so the Seahawks’ next No. 2 QB could be with another team as of this writing.

If things don’t work out for Lynch or Smith, they’ll have options. Despite their missteps, they’re both on the right side of 30 and may still hold appeal for evaluators who considered drafting them just a few years ago. And, if an NFL opportunity doesn’t present itself, both players may find a home in the upstart XFL.

We’re watching the backup quarterback camp battles. One of these guys is going to get cut,” XFL commissioner Oliver Luck said of the Smith/Lynch situation. “There’s a bunch of those going on. We might not get all of those guys, the quote-unquote loser of those, but a Geno or Paxton is not going to end up on a practice squad. There are a bunch of 3-4-5-year guys that are in that boat. They’ve been on rosters, practice squad, been yo-yo’d two years. They need to play, and that’s my argument to them, that it’s very doable here.”

Both players have just $25K guaranteed on their one-year deals, so the Seahawks wouldn’t lose much by releasing either player.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

XFL Commish Talks AAF, Recruiting, QBs

World Wrestling Entertainment owner Vince McMahon is the big name associated with the upcoming XFL, but the league’s commissioner has the difficult job of building a successful infrastructure. Fortunately, Oliver Luck, the father of Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, is more than qualified for the position; following an NFL career, Luck earned his law degree before running MLS teams and collegiate programs.

Luck is now tasked with running an alternative option to the NFL, something that several of the league’s predecessors have failed to do. Several months ago, it looked like the XFL would be going head-to-head with the Alliance of American Football, but now they’re the only reputable spring league. The eight teams are already ramping up their efforts for a 2020 debut, and each organization has a head coach in place.

Now, the league is turning their attention to attracting players. In October, about 300 participants from the XFL’s Summer Showcase will be signed and entered into a draft pool, at which time the eight teams will fill the “bottom half” of their rosters. The league will look to fill the rest of their rosters with players who are cut loose by NFL squads following the preseason (more than 850 players will be released at that time). The XFL will have another chance to add players in January, when practice squads end and players aren’t retained via futures contracts.

Luck talked with Greg Auman of The Athletic about the XFL’s plan for recruiting players and what he’s learned from the AAF. The entire article is worth a read, but we’ve compiled some of the notable soundbites below.

On what he learned from the defunct Alliance of American Football, which is still dealing with fallout despite shutting down in April:

“I was speaking with Vince, and one of the questions he asked was ‘What are you worried about?’ I said ‘I think schedule-wise, etc., we’re in pretty good shape, but I do worry though about players’ motivations after the other league collapsed.’ I’m really looking forward to all these showcases, today included, to talk to these guys and it’s been very refreshing to see they just want to play more football. They know where our eight teams are, they know who our head coaches are, they trust we’re going to have a game that’s not too outlandish or crazy. To see the motivation and excitement these guys have has been good for us. It took away any doubt I had that players might say ‘Oh, gosh, another spring league. I don’t want to do that. They never make it.’ That sort of thing. That was important.”

On both the successes and failures of the AAF:

“We watched them closely. Personally, there was no dancing on the grave, no schadenfreude. I was hoping they’d make it through their championship game. … It’s helped us a little bit, reaffirmed our model. The AAF also made some mistakes. (The Apollos), in the sports business, that’s like a pilot forgetting to turn the engine on.”

On NFL-ineligible collegiate players who may spurn the NCAA for professional football (the NFL requires players to be at least three years out of high school):

“We won’t have many, but we’ll have a couple. They’ll be some guys with college eligibility still who say ‘I’d rather go earn sixty grand’ … anybody is eligible. Having said that, as I’ve said to our head coaches, I want to make sure the younger guy is physically, mentally, emotionally mature enough to play. If you’ve got a guy who played a year of ball at Florida State, got a lot of snaps and stuff.”

On whether the NFL is focused on attracting younger players or veterans:

“We have to be able to make sure that some of the older guys can make it through, to be blunt. We have to make sure some of younger guys know what it means to be a professional. I think there will be a combination of guys. We want to be a league of opportunity.”

On attracting (relatively) big-name quarterbacks to join the XFL (Luck specifically focused on the Seahawks backup gig between Geno Smith and Paxton Lynch, noting that the “loser” could realistically make just as much money in the alternative league):

“We’re watching the backup quarterback camp battles. One of these guys is going to get cut. There’s a bunch of those going on. We might not get all of those guys, the quote-unquote loser of those, but a Geno or Paxton is not going to end up on a practice squad. There are a bunch of 3-4-5-year guys that are in that boat. They’ve been on rosters, practice squad, been yo-yo’d two years. They need to play, and that’s my argument to them, that it’s very doable here.”

Brett Hundley To Sign With Cardinals

The Cardinals are planning to sign quarterback Brett Hundley, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that it will be a one-year, $2MM pact, with a maximum value of $3MM. Hundley will presumably operate as the backup to second-year signal-caller Josh Rosen, or, depending on how this year’s draft goes, he could be backing up Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray.

As Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times tweets, the Seahawks could turn to Paxton Lynch to back up Russell Wilson after Hundley served as Wilson’s clipboard holder in 2018. That would not be much comfort to Seattle fans, as Lynch, who signed with the Seahawks in January, has busted in a big way since the Broncos made him a first-round pick in 2016.

The Packers drafted Hundley in the fifth round of the 2015 draft. He didn’t see a lot of action at first, but he was called upon in 2017 when Aaron Rodgers was lost to injury. In nine starts, Hundley went 3-6 and threw for 1,836 yards with nine touchdowns against 12 interceptions. The Packers traded him to Seattle last August in exchange for a sixth-round pick.

Hundley will likely never fulfill the potential he exhibited at UCLA, but he may able to churn out a career as a serviceable backup. He did not see any action last year, as Wilson continued his record of perfect attendance.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Seahawks Sign QB Paxton Lynch

The Seahawks have signed quarterback Paxton Lynch, according to the NFL’s transaction wire. The deal was first reported by Ian Furness of KJR Radio (on Twitter). 

Lynch may be a backup option for the Seahawks in 2019 behind starter Russell Wilson. Before this pact, Wilson was the only QB under contract for next season. Brett Hundley, who finished out the year as Wilson’s backup, is set for unrestricted free agency.

Wilson, 31 in November, has had a perfect attendance record since entering the league in 2012. Still, you can’t bank on perfect health in football. For all his warts, Lynch may prove to be a quality QB2 for Seattle.

Lynch tried out for roughly 25% of the league’s teams since being cut by the Broncos in 2018, but was unable to land a contract. The former 26th overall selection in the 2016 draft was beaten out twice for the Broncos’ starting quarterback job by former seventh-round pick Trevor Siemian. In two years with Denver, Lynch managed to start only four games, completing 61.7% of his passes for 792 yards, four touchdowns, and four interceptions. Among the 52 quarterbacks who attempted at least 125 passes during those two seasons, Lynch ranked 41st in passer rating and 46h in adjusted net yards per attempt.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Workout Updates: 12/18/18

Here is the latest from the workout circuit, all links going to Adam Caplan of Sirius XM Radio’s Twitter account (unless otherwise noted).

Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills

Green Bay Packers

Los Angeles Chargers

  • DE Avery Ellis (link)

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Redskins

Dolphins Audition QB Paxton Lynch

The Dolphins worked out free agent quarterback Paxton Lynch on Wednesday, according to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer (Twitter link).

Lynch has tried out for a number of teams — eight, at last count — since being cut by the Broncos earlier this year but has yet to land a contract. Miami could be an interesting destination, however, as the club only has two healthy quarterbacks in Brock Osweiler and David Fales. Presumptive starter Ryan Tannehill is tentatively projected to return in Week 12, but his health has been anything but a certainty throughout his career.

Lynch, the 26th overall selection in the 2016 draft, was beaten out twice for the Broncos’ starting quarterback job by former seventh-round pick Trevor Siemian. In two years with Denver, Lynch managed to start only four games, completing 61.7% of his passes for 792 yards, four touchdowns, and four interceptions. Among the 52 quarterbacks who attempted at least 125 passes during those two seasons, Lynch ranked 41st in passer rating and 46h in adjusted net yards per attempt.

Miami also auditioned wide receivers Tavarres King and Tre McBride today, per Balzer, but given that the club signed pass-catcher Brice Butler (who was also part of the workout), King and McBride don’t seem likely to land with the Dolphins.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Workout Updates: 10/23/18

Here’s a rundown of today’s NFL workouts:

Cincinnati Bengals

  • TE Nick Keizer (Twitter link via Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson)

 Detroit Lions

New England Patriots

New York Jets

Tennessee Titans

 

NFC Notes: Thomas, Garoppolo, Griffen

The obscene parting shot that Seahawks safety Earl Thomas made in the direction of his team’s bench as he was being carted off the field last week was not directed at any one person or player, but at the Seattle organization as a whole, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. And, even though all signs were already pointing towards a parting of the ways between Thomas, who will be a free agent at the end of the season, and the only NFL team he has ever known, Schefter reports that the Seahawks are not expected to use the franchise tag on Thomas, which all but ensures that he will not return to Seattle in 2019.

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that Thomas will have surgery to have a rod inserted in his leg this week, which will increase his chances of healing while lowering his chances of a re-fracture, so he is expected to be fully healthy well before free agency officially opens in March.

Now for more from the NFC, starting with another item out of Seattle:

  • Seahawks LB Mychal Kendricks was hit with an indefinite suspension earlier this week, and Schefter reports that Kendricks, his lawyers, and the NFLPA are still battling to prove that the NFL does not have the right to impose such a ban in his case. Instead, Kendricks is arguing that the league should suspend him for a specific number of games, thereby allowing him to return to action this season and play until he receives his sentence for insider trading in January.
  • In keeping with a report from several days ago that 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo underwent successful surgery on his torn ACL, Rapoport tweets that Garoppolo faces a relatively obstacle-free rehab. His ACL was the only thing that needed to be repaired, so he is expected to make a full recovery.
  • We heard at the end of last month that there was no definite timeline for Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen to return to the team, and Schefter reported today that Griffen is not expected to return anytime soon. Griffen, of course, is tending to apparently serious mental health issues.
  • Lions guard T.J. Lang suffered at least the fifth concussion of his career last week, and assuming he wants to continue his career, Kyle Meinke of MLive.com believes 2018 will be his last season in Detroit. Lang is under contract through 2019, but he missed games last year because of brain, back and foot issues, and he is dealing with brain and back issues again this year. He would carry a cap hit of $11.7MM in 2019, and Meinke does not envision Detroit ponying up that kind of cash given Lang’s recent spate of injury problems.
  • The Buccaneers recently worked out former first-round draft choice Paxton Lynch, but Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Bucs have no interest in signing Lynch at this time.

NFL Workout Updates: 10/3/18

Today’s workout updates, with all links going to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account:

Detroit Lions

Jacksonville Jaguars

New England Patriots

New York Giants

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Seahawks Work Out Paxton Lynch, Others

Seattle was the latest stop on Paxton Lynch‘s post-Broncos workout tour, with the team bringing him and two others in for an audition according to Field Yates of ESPN (Twitter link).

Yates reports that the Seahawks brought in the former first round quarterback as well as former Jets wide receiver Chad Hansen and former Browns defensive lineman Jamie Meder. It’s been a busy month of flying for Lynch after he was let go by the Broncos at final cuts. He worked out for the Jaguars last week, and the Redskins the week before that. He’s also worked out for the Eagles, the Lions , and the Bills during his time on the open market.

The 26th overall pick of the 2016 draft might not be able to find a home on an active roster this season, and may need to wait til the end of the season to sign a reserve/futures contract for the offseason. Most teams’ quarterback depth charts are set, and the clubs that will be looking for signal callers due to injuries will likely be looking to add veterans and not developmental projects at this point in the season.

Hansen was a fourth round pick of the Jets back in 2017, but didn’t survive final cuts this year. He was claimed by the Patriots, but lasted only a week on New England’s roster. Meder spent the past three seasons with the Browns, and made the team’s initial 53 this year, but was cut soon after to make room for incoming Cleveland waiver claims. The Seahawks have Brett Hundley backing up Russell Wilson, and Alex McGough on the practice squad, so it would be surprising if they brought in Lynch this season.