Paxton Lynch

Paxton Lynch Moving From CFL To USFL

Paxton Lynch has not attempted a regular-season NFL pass since his final Broncos start, in Week 17 of the 2017 season. The former first-round pick is about to try another league.

Lynch requested his release from the Canadian Football League’s Saskatchewan Roughriders, with his agent noting the well-traveled QB eyed a path to the new USFL (Twitter links). Canada’s stricter COVID-19 regulations played a role in this exit, and Lynch will receive another opportunity as a pro.

The Michigan Panthers selected Lynch in the 12th round of the USFL draft Tuesday night. Lynch, the 26th overall pick in 2016, was one of a host of familiar names taken by the latest upstart league. Michigan selected Lynch, 28, in the second round designated for quarterbacks. He did not play in any games with the Roughriders, with that stay following non-game-action runs with the Seahawks and Steelers.

The USFL event started with a QB round, during which Michigan selected ex-Wolverines QB Shea Patterson first overall. In Round 1, recent Patterson Chiefs teammate Jordan Ta’amu — also an XFL veteran — along with ex-Giants draftee Kyle Lauletta and ex-Vikings backup Kyle Sloter were selected.

The New Jersey Generals chose cornerback De’Vante Bausby in the eighth round. Bausby has considerable NFL experience, compared to most of the other players drafted over the past two days, having played for four teams from 2016-20. Bausby enjoyed two stints with the Broncos, making 20 tackles in 10 Denver games in 2020. He finished the 2021 season on the Patriots’ practice squad.

Ex-Packer wideout draftee J’Mon Moore landed with the Generals as well, and former Titans third-round pick Taywan Taylor went to the New Orleans Breakers today. The Breakers also drafted ex-Washington supplemental draftee Adonis Alexander, a defensive back. Fellow NFL supplemental draftee Isaiah Battle, a tackle, went to the Pittsburgh Maulers on Tuesday night. The Tampa Bay Bandits also selected ex-Raiders second-round safety Obi Melifonwu.

The USFL’s second effort, after a memorable mid-1980s run, is set to begin play April 16. All games will be played in Birmingham. The championship game is scheduled for July 3, in Canton. Should the USFL’s second effort reach the championship game, it would surpass 2019’s Alliance of American Football and 2020’s second XFL iteration. Both recent spring startups folded before their seasons ended, though a retooled XFL is set to return in 2023 and secured a formal partnership with the NFL.

QB Paxton Lynch Joining CFL

Paxton Lynch is heading to the CFL. The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today that they’ve signed the former NFL quarterback.

It was only five years ago that the Broncos selected the Memphis product in the first round of the 2016 draft (No. 26). When Lynch managed to see the field for Denver, his performance was underwhelming. In five games (four starts) between two seasons, Lynch completed 61.7-percent of his passes for 792 yards, four touchdowns, and four interceptions. The quarterback was ultimately cut by the Broncos at the beginning of the 2018 campaign.

Lynch hasn’t seen the field for a regular season NFL game since that time. He’s had stints with the Seahawks and Steelers, and he spent most of the 2019 campaign on Pittsburgh’s active roster. After getting cut by the Steelers at the end of last year’s preseason, Lynch sat unsigned for the entire 2020 campaign.

In Saskatchewan, Lynch will be joining a quarterbacks room that includes former Jets quarterback Luke Falk.

 

Steelers Trim Roster Down

The entire AFC North is now finished as the Steelers became the latest team to trim their roster to 53 players. Here are all the moves, we’ll recap the most notable ones at the bottom:

Lynch is probably the most well known of these names. The former Broncos first-round bust signed with the Steelers last year as insurance after multiple quarterback injuries. He’s running out of chances. Switzer has mostly contributed as a returner with Pittsburgh and Dallas, although he did have 36 catches with the Steelers in 2018.

Smallwood was one of the Eagles’ main running backs in 2018, but didn’t get too many touches with Washington last year. He’ll likely pop up somewhere else soon. Brooks Jr. was the Steelers’ sixth-round pick in this past draft, so he’s likely ticketed for the practice squad if he clears waivers.

McCullers has been with the Steelers the past six years so his is a significant departure even though the nose tackle only played 12 percent of the defensive snaps last season.

 

Steelers GM Fine With Backup QB Situation

The Steelers did not draft a quarterback and have not signed a veteran this offseason, and GM Kevin Colbert elaborated on why recently.

Not only did the Steelers’ 21st-year GM confirm the team did not make an offer to Jameis Winston, he said the Steelers intend to go forward with the backups they used last season. Pittsburgh has former third-round pick Mason Rudolph and ex-UDFA Devlin Hodges under contract. Former first-round pick Paxton Lynch is as well, though he did not play last season.

We’re comfortable with Mason Rudolph as a backup and Devlin Hodges in the mix. Between the two of them, they were 8-6 last year,” Colbert said during an appearance on the #PFTPM podcast (via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk). “You get into a backup quarterback situation, 8-6 is not 14-0 but there’s some comfort in knowing that they can get you through the hopefully nonexistent spell that may occur if your quarterback gets injured.”

The Steelers make sense for a veteran, with Ben Roethlisberger coming off elbow surgery in advance of his age-38 season. His two backups oversaw a last-place offensive DVOA season. The Steelers ranked sixth in offensive DVOA in 2018, when Big Ben started 16 games, but plummeted to last in 2019 after his Week 2 injury. The Steelers’ improved defense (third in DVOA) played a significant part in the team’s eight wins. Rudolph and Hodges tied for last place in Next Gen Stats’ average completed air yards metric, with each at 4.5 per completion.

Cam Newton is now believed to be open to being a backup in the right situation. Though, Newton has dealt with more injury trouble than Roethlisberger has in recent years. Joe Flacco is now shelved until perhaps September. Other veterans available include Blake Bortles, Geno Smith, Trevor Siemian, Mike Glennon and Drew Stanton.

Colbert attributed part of his team’s lack of interest in veterans to its salary cap situation. The Steelers hold $5.7MM in cap space and have yet to sign any of their draft picks. Although Pittsburgh frequently restructures contracts to create cap room, the team is not planning to change up its Roethlisberger-Rudolph-Hodges QB room for the time being.

Lot of times when we get into salary cap management and you have significant dollars in your starter, it’s hard to put a lot of dollars in your backup,” Colbert said. “We’re very comfortable knowing if need be Mason and Devlin and/or Devlin and Mason and even Paxton Lynch, who’s got No. 1 talent. We’ll see what we got, but we’re comfortable with that right now.”

AFC North Notes: Burrow, Stefanski, Ravens

The Bengals are widely expected to take LSU QB Joe Burrow with the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, but there may be a bit of intrigue in that regard, per Albert Breer of SI.com. Burrow will work with former Bengal Jordan Palmer, the little brother of franchise icon Carson Palmer, for his pre-draft training. And the elder Palmer recently had some critical comments for Cincinnati, saying that the club was never really dedicated to chasing a Super Bowl.

Burrow subsequently said the following: “[y]ou want to go No. 1. But you also want to go to a great organization that is committed to winning. Committed to winning Super Bowls.” That may just be a coincidence, and Burrow’s father recently downplayed any notion that Burrow doesn’t want to be picked by the Bengals (Twitter link via Jeremy Rauch of FOX 19), but Breer believes Bengals Director of Player Personnel Duke Tobin may need to sell Burrow on the team just a bit.

Now for more from the AFC North:

  • As expected, the Bengals have promoted Dan Pitcher to quarterbacks coach after Alex Van Pelt left for Cleveland’s OC job, the team announced. Pitcher will have a significant role in Burrow’s development, assuming Cincy selects the LSU signal-caller.
  • We passed along some remarks from new Browns GM Andrew Berry earlier today, and new Cleveland HC Kevin Stefanski also took to the podium. Scott Patsko of Cleveland.com passes along the entire transcript, which is worth a read for Browns fans, but much of it was fairly non-committal coach-speak, which Stefanski has already mastered. Stefanski, though, made it a point to note that he will be heavily involved in making personnel decisions with Berry, and he said he does not know who will be calling offensive plays this year.
  • Though the Ravens have more cap flexibility this year than in past seasons, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic does not expect a spending spree. He predicts perhaps one big-ticket item and a few modest signings, and much will depend on what the club decides to do with pass rusher Matt Judon — a situation that is still fluid — and whether RG Marshal Yanda retires. He also names OL James Hurst as a potential release candidate.
  • Steelers president Art Rooney II indicated his club may target a RB and/or WR in free agency, per Teresa Varley of Steelers.com, though Rooney said Pittsburgh is content with the quarterback situation as it is. Behind Ben Roethlisberger, the club will roll with some combination of Mason Rudolph, Duck Hodges, and Paxton Lynch.

Steelers Promote QB Paxton Lynch

For the first time since the Broncos’ 2017 finale, Paxton Lynch will return to an active roster. The Steelers promoted him in advance of their Week 6 game in Los Angeles.

With Mason Rudolph ruled out, the former first-round pick will serve as Devlin Hodges‘ backup. Lynch caught on with the Steelers’ practice squad earlier this season. Pittsburgh has lost both Rudolph and Ben Roethlisberger to injury in five games. Both Hodges and Lynch were in-season roster additions.

One of the bigger first-round miscalculations in modern NFL history, Lynch spent 2018 out of football after the Broncos waived him in September 2018. He caught on with the Seahawks via reserve/futures contract but did not beat out Geno Smith for their backup job. The Steelers added the former No. 26 overall pick as an in-case-of-emergency option, but Earl Thomas‘ hit on Rudolph made Pittsburgh exercise its emergency scenario.

The Steelers also promoted running back Trey Edmunds and waived outside linebacker Jayrone Elliott and guard Fred Johnson. Edmunds is the brother of Steelers safety starter Terrell Edmunds.

Steelers Sign Paxton Lynch To P-Squad

Paxton Lynch will have another opportunity to develop, this time for a team that’s seen its biggest shakeup at quarterback in 15 years. The Steelers added Lynch to their practice squad Tuesday.

The former Broncos first-round pick has not come particularly close to justifying that No. 26 overall investment, being out of football in 2018 and failing to make the Seahawks’ roster this year. He will represent insurance and depth for a Steelers team that lost Ben Roethlisberger for the season.

Mason Rudolph is set to start, with recent UDFA Devlin Hodges being promoted from the practice squad Monday. The Steelers are believed to be on the lookout for a veteran backup to work behind Rudolph; Lynch obviously does not profile as that. As of now, Rudolph, Hodges and Lynch are the only healthy QBs the Steelers employ.

The Seahawks opted for Geno Smith over Lynch this season. The Broncos waived Lynch after claiming Chad Kelly last summer.

Steelers To Meet With Paxton Lynch

The Steelers are set to meet with Paxton Lynch, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The former first-round pick could help to reinforce their QB room in the wake of Ben Roethlisberger‘s season-ending elbow injury.

Lynch flamed out with the Broncos after being drafted in 2016 and was cut loose early in 2018. He was out of football for the rest of the season and was not able to stick with the Seahawks this year.

If signed, Lynch would serve as the QB2 behind new starter, Mason Rudolph. For now, Rudolph is backstopped by undrafted rookie Devlin Hodges.

Seahawks Waive Paxton Lynch

The Paxton Lynch experiment in Seattle is over. The Seahawks have waived the former first-round pick quarterback, a source told Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times (Twitter link).

With Lynch being cut, that means that Geno Smith has won the right to carry Russell Wilson‘s clipboard during the regular season. Condotta writes that the Seahawks “may try to keep Lynch on the practice squad.” Lynch drew some positive reviews earlier this preseason, but he melted down in the team’s fourth and final game. He completed just one of seven passes for four yards, which likely sealed his fate if it wasn’t sealed already.

The Broncos drafted the Memphis product 26th overall back in 2016, and he never panned out in Denver. He never got a chance to be the full-time starter, a feat very rare for first-round quarterbacks. During his time with the Broncos he started a total of four games, tossing four touchdowns and four interceptions while averaging only 6.2 yards per attempt.

After spending the entire 2018 season out of football, he signed with the Seahawks in January. Lynch has plenty of athleticism and can make the occasional splashy play, but has never been able to put it all together. There have been questions about his maturity, and he’s running out of chances to show he can deliver on his potential.

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.