Ex-Broncos, Steelers QB Signs with CFL’s Roughriders

Paxton Lynch

Dustin Bradford/Getty Images Quarterback Paxton Lynch #12 of the Denver Broncos warms up before a game on December 31, 2017.

Former Denver Broncos first-round pick Paxton Lynch appears to be out of chances in the NFL, so he has decided to give the Canadian Football League a try. On Monday the 27-year-old signed with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, hoping that he can continue his professional football career on a team that already features its share of former NFL players.

Paxton Lynch’s NFL Journey

Lynch—6-foot-7 and 244 pounds—came into the NFL in 2016, when the Broncos selected him No. 26 overall out of the University of Memphis. In two seasons with Denver, he made four starts (1-3) and appeared in five games, completing 79 of 128 passes with four touchdowns and four interceptions, good for a 76.9 career passer rating.

He was waived by the Broncos prior to the start of the 2018 season and later went on to sign a Reserve/Futures deal with the Seattle Seahawks. He never appeared in a regular season game for the Seahawks, but got another opportunity early in the 2019 campaign—this time in Pittsburgh—after Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger suffered a season-ending elbow injury. He spent time on Pittsburgh’s practice squad before being elevated to the team’s active roster, where he sat behind backup Mason Rudolph and third-stringer Devlin ‘Duck’ Hodges, who handled all the quarterback duties while Roethlisberger was out of the lineup.

Lynch had another opportunity to make an impression in Steelers training camp in 2020, but was released when he failed to win the third-string QB job, which was handled by Josh Dobbs, who the Steelers traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2019, only to bring him back after the Jaguars jettisoned him.

Coming out of college, there were major questions about Lynch’s passing accuracy, despite the passing proficiency he exhibited at Memphis. During his time with the Tigers, Lynch started 38 games and completed 758 of 1205 passes (62.9%), with his 59 touchdown passes good for second-best in school history.

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The Roughriders Roster Features 3 Former Steelers Draft Picks

When Lynch begins practicing with his new team, he will see a few faces that he likely encountered during his time in the NFL. In fact, the Roughriders roster features a trio of former Pittsburgh Steelers draft picks, including former Auburn wide receiver Sammie Coates, 28, who was selected in the third round in 2015 and played for the Steelers for two seasons before spending one season each with the Cleveland Browns and Houston Texans.

The Riders also employ another ex-Steelers receiver, that being Demarcus Ayers, 26, who lasted one season in Pittsburgh (6 catches, 1 touchdown) before spending time with the Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots and Chicago Bears.

Then there’s another former Steelers seventh-rounder, Keion Adams, 26, who played his college ball at Western Michigan but never appeared in a regular season NFL game, not for the Steelers and not for the New York Giants, who picked him up in June 2019.

Lynch Joins a Team That Already Has 4 Quarterbacks

Meanwhile, Paxton Lynch joins a club that already has four quarterbacks on its roster, including Mason Fine and Cody Fajardo, who played at North Texas and Nevada, respectively. The Riders also have Luke Falk, a 2018 sixth-round pick of the Tennessee Titans who made two starts for the New York Jets in 2019.

Last but not least, there’s Tom Flacco, 26, the younger brother of former Baltimore Ravens starter Joe Flacco, who went undrafted in 2020 after a college career that included stops at Western Michigan, Rutgers and Towson.

Saskatchewan opens its 2021 schedule on August 6 at home against the British Columbia Lions.

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