Do the Denver Broncos have a shot at Paxton Lynch?
2016 NFL Draft: Do the Denver Broncos have a realistic shot at getting QB Paxton Lynch? How high up would they have to trade to get him? Let’s take a look..
Despite the fact that he might be the best quarterback prospect in the 2016 NFL Draft, Memphis prospect Paxton Lynch isn’t being discussed as one of the top two picks. Jared Goff and Carson Wentz are.
Picks 1 & 2 have been acquired by the Rams and Eagles respectively, and both teams paid a king’s bounty to move up and get them. I can’t remember the last time there were three trades within the top 10 of the draft before anyone was technically on the clock, but here we are…
All of this chaos before the draft makes me wonder where the Denver Broncos stand with their quarterback situation, and what they’d be willing to do to move up and get Lynch on draft night.
Where would Lynch have to fall? Who would be a logical trade partner? What would it cost the Broncos?
With plenty of big name free agents on the docket in future years, the Broncos need to be very selective about what picks they give up, because a second rounder or third rounder could wind up being a key starter if someone departs via free agency next year.
That said, the Broncos also will have a number of extra picks in the 2017 draft that they can barter with in this year’s draft thanks to Malik Jackson and Brock Osweiler getting some of the richest deals on the free agent market. Those two guys may have bolted for the cash, but the Broncos reap the benefits of the NFL’s strange compensatory draft pick formula, and should have secured two additional third round picks in next year’s draft.
John Elway has some nice capital to work with in terms of draft pick ammunition, and the pick to watch for Paxton Lynch is pick 20 and the New York Jets. The Jets, like the Broncos, are apparently still in search of a quarterback. Unlike the Broncos, it seems like the Jets are playing hardball with Ryan Fitzpatrick, trying to get him to take a lesser annual salary to be their starting QB for the next few years.
If Fitzpatrick signs before the draft, the Jets will most certainly not be picking Paxton Lynch with the 20th overall selection, and they might not do it anyway. You never want to pass on a guy you think can be a franchise QB, but the Jets haven’t done anything with Geno Smith, and they also used a high fourth round pick on Bryce Petty last year.
I’m not saying those guys are irreplaceable for New York, but I also don’t think they’re trying to go into the season with Smith, Petty, and Paxton Lynch as their trio of quarterbacks. Not a team that believes it is just on the cusp of dethroning New England for the AFC East.
The Jets have made a series of ‘win now’ moves like trading for Brandon Marshall, signing Matt Forte, signing Darrelle Revis, and trading for left tackle Ryan Clady.
It doesn’t seem likely to me that the Jets are going to add another rookie QB to the mix without having a guy like Fitzpatrick back in the fold, especially after he just threw over 30 touchdowns last season. The Jets know his limitations, but they also saw the greatest season of his NFL career.
This is not to say the Broncos are not in a ‘win-now’ mode. They are indeed ready for another championship run based on the caliber of the roster John Elway has built, but the pressure for a rookie like Lynch to start immediately isn’t necessarily there because the team feels good enough about Mark Sanchez to start the season with him.
Sanchez is in the final year of his contract, so the Broncos will need a solution by at least 2017, if not at some point in the 2016 season. They have the option of playing a rookie if Sanchez plays well, letting the guys battle it out in training camp, or simply watching Sanchez succeed in Gary Kubiak’s offense.
Perhaps easier said than done.
I think if Paxton Lynch passes by the Jets with the 20th overall pick, John Elway will have the Washington Redskins at pick #21 on the line immediately. The Broncos can afford to move up with some draft capital in 2017, but they also can’t give up too much. Last year they moved up five spots from 28 to 23 and it cost them a 5th round pick and Manny Ramirez.
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They have some depth at rush linebacker they could trade, but that would be risky considering their deep pass rush group is the reason they won a title last year, not the QB position. On the NFL’s trade value chart, the Broncos’ 31st overall pick is worth 600 points, while the 21st overall pick is worth 800. Denver’s 3rd round pick (95th overall) isn’t enough to split the difference, so they might call another team after Washington to strike a trade.
The Houston Texans at pick #22 aren’t going to be helping the Broncos out in any way, shape, or form. The Cincinnati Bengals aren’t going to be chomping at the bit to give the Broncos an opportunity at a franchise QB (picking 24th) which leaves the Minnesota Vikings at pick #23 as the most likely trade destination for Denver should Paxton Lynch get by the Jets at 20.
The Vikings, like most teams in the draft, would probably be happy to move down. Denver can offer a 3rd round pick to move up eight spots (the 95th overall pick) and still have a third rounder (98th overall) to play with later. If the Broncos don’t want to offer a pick this year, or if the Vikings feel like nine rookies wouldn’t make their 2016 roster, the Broncos could offer a 3rd rounder in 2017 and not think twice about it.
THE IDEAL TRADE (if Lynch falls past 20)
The Broncos may have to pay more than that to get the Vikings to bite. There could also be a bidding war to trade up for Lynch, but I don’t think there’s that likely a chance a team like Arizona or Kansas City moves up from their spots to get him. They are more focused on the present.
The Cleveland Browns have the 32nd pick in the draft, which is the first pick of the second round thanks to the New England Patriots. They have plenty of ammunition (12 selections) in this year or next year to move up basically wherever they want and get Lynch if they decide to take a different player (perhaps Ronnie Stanley or Laremy Tunsil) earlier in the first round.
The Browns might also be content to wait for one of their later picks, and go with a developmental player. Who knows?
I know that the Broncos are interested in Lynch, and it wouldn’t shock me to see them trade up for him. If the price is right, John Elway could find a way to make a really shrewd move in the first round of the draft that could pay huge dividends for the Broncos for years.
If Denver is looking at trading a third round pick for Colin Kaepernick, they should wait until the first round of the draft is over to know the fate of Lynch, who would probably be the better long-term option. Why do I say that? The average salary for a rookie selected with the 23rd overall pick (as we know thanks to Shane Ray) is $2,279,724.
Another reason this is an economical move for Elway and the Broncos? The fifth-year rookie option. Not only would Lynch (or any 1st round QB picked after no. 10 overall) be a great bargain for the first four years of his career, but in year five, the Broncos would have the option to pay him $10,611,000, which is currently well below market value for a quarterback in this league.
Can you imagine how far below market value that will be five years from now?
With the contract of Von Miller looming, the money already being spent on Demaryius Thomas and other pieces of the defense, the Broncos need the most cost effective player they can get at quarterback, and Lynch could be it. He’s a perfect fit for Gary Kubiak’s offense, and if the Broncos were willing to spend $16 million on Brock Osweiler, Lynch is basically a physical clone. They aren’t the same type of player by any means, but his appearance might at least help them get over the loss of Os.
There’s plenty of skepticism that the Broncos would even be able to have this scenario in mind on draft night, considering the hype surrounding quarterbacks in this year’s draft and the fact that the top two will be gone immediately. The run on QBs has already started, and we’re not even to the draft just yet.
But the more you listen to what insiders are saying and what people ‘in the know’ are mocking in the draft, it seems like the chances of Lynch slipping into the Broncos’ range are moderately high. We all know it only takes one team, but here are a few mock drafts and the range with which Lynch is falling in them:
CBS Sports (Rob Rang): 31st overall, Broncos
CBS Sports (Dane Brugler): 20th overall, Jets
ESPN (Kiper & McShay): 29th overall, Cardinals
WalterFootball.com: 28th overall, Chiefs
Rotoworld.com (Josh Norris): 31st overall, Broncos
DraftCountdown.com: 20th overall, Jets
NFL.com (Daniel Jeremiah): 20th overall, Jets
NFL.com (Charles Davis): 29th overall, Cardinals
NFL.com (Charley Casserly): 31st overall, Broncos
You get the point. Most mock drafts have Lynch going 20th or later, and like I mentioned earlier, I think there’s a solid chance the Jets don’t wind up taking a QB early because of the situation at hand with Geno Smith and Bryce Petty on the roster.
From a football standpoint, the Broncos make a ton of sense for Lynch. From a possible trade-up standpoint, it makes a lot of sense for the Broncos to make the move. If Elway’s willing to invest a third rounder in Kaepernick, he should also be willing to do so for Lynch.
Adding Lynch (or a 1st round QB in general) allows the Broncos flexibility to keep their defensive pieces (and Emmanuel Sanders) around for a long period of time, as well as watch a quarterback ascend within the Gary Kubiak offense. If Lynch gets past 20 overall, the price to move up is affordable and do-able for Elway and company, and I think they would seriously consider it.
Heck, if they like Lynch enough, they might be willing to pony up some extra picks and move ahead of the Jets and Bills to get him before pick no. 19.
Whatever the case, the Broncos ending up with Paxton Lynch on draft night is sounding better and better to me. I love the idea of Kaepernick, and I’m even on board for Sanchez, but drafting the future in the 1st round excites me. The Broncos last used a 1st round pick on a quarterback when they selected Tim Tebow in 2010. Prior to that, it was Jay Cutler in 2006.
They haven’t seen a home-grown quarterback come to fruition in a long time.
Now might just be the perfect one, and his name is Paxton Lynch.