The Broncos should consider putting Paxton Lynch on IR


It might not be an easy decision, but the Denver Broncos should at least consider the option of putting Paxton Lynch on IR to start 2017…

The Denver Broncos may not want or need my two cents in regards to Paxton Lynch or the quarterback situation, but my two cents is free.

John Elway, Vance Joseph, and the rest of the talent evaluators in Denver have a really tough decision to make coming up on the 53-man roster as it is. Lynch is currently not healthy enough to even practice, much less be an asset as a backup quarterback on gameday.

The Broncos should explore the option of putting Lynch on injured reserve to start the 2017 season, and hear me out.

At a recent press conference, Joseph stated that Lynch is expected to miss a ‘couple real games’. Typically, a ‘couple’ means two, but why didn’t Joseph just say he’d miss two games? Why was the estimation so vague?

Lynch suffered a shoulder injury that he may have caused himself on a really bad slide in the Broncos’ preseason win over Green Bay, and it got worse on a hit later in the game. The shoulder that Lynch injured is unfortunately his throwing shoulder, and there’s been some speculation that he’ll miss more time than we’re being led on.

That speculation could be wrong, and Lynch could be ready to go after week one or two, healing quickly. Shoulder injuries for quarterbacks are not to be taken lightly, as we all saw last season with Trevor Siemian.

There are some big factors with Lynch right now that could drive this decision:

1. He’s not ready to be a starter in the NFL.

2. He’s probably not even a capable backup at this juncture, at least if the Broncos’ goal is to win a bunch of games.

3. He’s not healthy, and the timetable for his return is vague.

The Broncos are not going to be able to rely on Lynch as their backup quarterback for at least a couple of regular season games, perhaps more. If Lynch won’t be healthy until the Broncos’ bye week (week 5), they should place him on short-term injured reserve and go find a veteran quarterback that is capable of backing up Siemian for the time being.

Here’s what my plan would be.

Let Kyle Sloter prove he’s worthy of a roster spot in the fourth preseason game. I think he will have no problem doing that. Sloter has the highest quarterback rating in the NFL so far this preseason, albeit in somewhat limited action.

If we’re being honest, Sloter has looked markedly better than Lynch at this point, and it isn’t really even close, either. Obviously, they are going against a different level of competition, but the fact remains.

Sloter should be the Broncos’ primary backup for a game, maybe two at the most, but even then the Broncos are playing with fire. Here’s the question I’ve been asking myself throughout this whole quarterback battle:

Are the Broncos okay with ‘blank’ as the quarterback if Siemian gets injured?

Insert Kyle Sloter’s name there. If I’m the Broncos, I would not be okay with Sloter as my regular season quarterback, regardless of how well he’s played in the preseason. Absolutely no question about it.

At this point in time, I wouldn’t be confident placing Paxton Lynch’s name in there either and expecting to win games. Lynch looked good last season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and he’s gotten worse and worse ever since that game. I haven’t seen any area of progression in his game since then, and in fact have seen more regression than anything else.

So, the Broncos have to cross their fingers that Siemian doesn’t get injured. They also need to bring in a quarterback that has played actual regular season games and proven themselves an effective (enough) player.

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If Colin Kaepernick isn’t an option (which is ridiculous) the Broncos may have to swing a trade for someone like Matt Barkley, who could come in and learn the offense quickly, and be Siemian’s primary backup this season.

Whenever the Broncos acquire a new quarterback, they will have to decide if Sloter’s knowledge of the offense is worth keeping on the 53-man roster for a game or two, and whether or not he will pass through waivers so they can put him on the practice squad.

They can’t keep four quarterbacks on the roster, so Lynch would go to IR until he is fully healthy, and then come back onto the active roster when ready. There’s no reason to rush him back, especially since the alternatives in free agency or through trade are better options at this point anyway.

The Broncos obviously don’t want Lynch to miss very many practice snaps, so they’ll have to make sure to approach this situation wisely. Lynch needs all the reps he can get, but he’s not going to get any valuable reps if he can’t throw the football.

It’s something the front office and coaching staff will need to consider. If Lynch can’t get those reps, there’s no sense in keeping him on the roster with such a vague timetable for return. The Broncos will need someone to come in and learn the offense quickly, at least the basics of it, and provide some relief if Siemian gets hurt at all.