Paxton Lynch Time With The Denver Broncos Is Now Or Never
Paxton Lynch has to start in 2017, or else there is very little chance he ever becomes the Broncos long-term answer. The reason is three-fold:
- He must play to improve
- If Trevor Siemian plays, he will improve
- Trevor Siemian needs a contract after 2018
First, if Lynch doesn’t play, he’s not going to get any better. He needs to get in the trenches. He needs to take his lumps and learn on the job. There will be hiccups, and times where he looks awful. But the goal is not necessarily to be a Pro-Bowler in 2017. If Lynch were able to accomplish that, amazing, but it shouldn’t be counted on.
2017 is about learning on the job and growing so that moving forward, Lynch can grow into that franchise level QB. The best thing the Broncos have done this offseason is put players around the quarterback that can take the pressure off.
Demariyus Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Carlos Henderson, Isaiah McKenzie, C.J. Anderson, Jamaal Charles, and Devontae Booker all have the ability to take the ball to the house on any given touch. And unlike Gary Kubiak, offensive coordinator Mike McCoy will give Lynch some familiar concepts that will allow him to easily get the balls into the hands of his playmakers, taking a lot of pressure off of Lynch himself.
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Second, if Trevor Siemian is named the starter, he’s not likely to get any worse. Well what is wrong with that? It’s not a problem if he all of a sudden improves so much that he causes a sudden upward shift of his ceiling. However, history would indicate that isn’t likely to happen. But minor improvement would make it very hard for Lynch to suddenly overtake Siemian in 2018. This is especially true because while Siemian is improving towards his ceiling, Lynch isn’t improving towards his.
Lastly it comes down to time. As stated before, if Siemian starts this season, it is likely he would also be named the starter 2018. After 2018 the Broncos would have to decide whether or not they want to commit to Siemian long-term, as his rookie contract is set to expire. In a quarterback-starved league, Trevor Siemian will get paid. See Brock Osweiler receiving $18 million per year from the Texans after seven starts, and you could imagine Siemian would get something similar, and that is before you account for inflation in the next two years.
Are the Broncos willing to shell out that type of money in just two years, when Lynch is under contract until 2020 under a rookie contract? That doesn’t seem likely seeing that the core of the defense is locked up to high-price, long-term deals. If they chose to lock up Siemian long term, there is no way Paxton Lynch will ever become the starter once Siemian is highly invested in.
So why not start Siemian the next two years and then turn to Paxton Lynch? Simple—Paxton Lynch isn’t going to improve until he plays. Sure, he make some baby steps in refining his footwork and learning the playbook, but another two years on the bench is not going to make Lynch into a star player. This means that he will be in roughly the same spot entering 2019 that he is today. And as stated earlier, he is going to need at least one year of growing pains to develop, and given how raw he is, it may take two.
If Lynch didn’t take over until 2019, that would mean the Broncos would get one, or maybe none good years on his rookie contract. This would leave the Broncos in a similar position as they were with Brock Osweiler—unsure of what they have when it’s time to pay up.
It’s a pretty safe bet to assume that the Broncos are not going to put themselves in this position. Paxton Lynch will be the starter barring an epic face-plant in training camp. It would make no sense to invest more time into a quarterback with a ceiling of Alex Smith, when they could put that time into a quarterback with a ceiling of Ben Roethlisberger. This is especially true when the latter is under contract at a cheap rate for multiple years longer. Every reason stated here, the Broncos are well aware of.
Starting Trevor Siemian in 2017 would mean the Broncos are essentially giving up on their first-round investment. Do you think they are willing to do this?