Broncos quarterback Paxton Lynch makes sense as a Kansas City Chiefs trade option
By Matt Conner
Paxton Lynch is reportedly on the roster bubble in Denver and it wouldn’t hurt the Chiefs to check in on a player who was once on their radar as well.
Every year at this time, a number of surprising players are placed on the roster bubble for their respective teams and potentially even released. Among the lot are a number of failed prospects or draft busts, players who failed to live up to their draft billing who have finally exhausted the number of chances their parent club was willing to extend.
A recent list from NFL analyst Field Yates yields a few of these players like former first round wide receiver Breshad Perriman of the Baltimore Ravens, linebacker Stephone Anthony of the Miami Dolphins (and formerly New Orleans Saints) and quarterback Paxton Lynch of the Denver Broncos.
It’s that last one that is interesting for our purposes, because Lynch could actually be a nice acquisition for the Kansas City Chiefs at this stage of the preseason.
There are a couple things to get out of the way here, first and foremost, for anyone who wasn’t already turned off by the headline and main idea:
- First, I understand the Chiefs have needs at other positions. I’m pretty sure Brett Veach can show interest in multiple positions at the same time.
- Secondly, the idea of Paxton Lynch as a first round pick is now a thing of the past. This has nothing to do with Patrick Mahomes.
If Lynch is on the outs in Denver, it makes sense for the Chiefs to offer something of little substance in order to control the flow of traffic and bring Lynch into the fold as the team’s third overall quarterback, a move that would send Matt McGloin packing and Chase Litton to the practice squad (more on this in a second). Here’s why:
1. The Chiefs were once reportedly interested in Lynch
Back in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos made a deal to move up five spots to No. 26 overall, a pick which they used to select Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch. As a 6’7 quarterback with nice athleticism and a strong arm, there was a nice base for teams to like in a pro quarterback prospect. When the Broncos made that move, they jumped in front of the Chiefs by a couple picks.
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(Remember this is the draft that the Chiefs felt good about the number of players available for them on their board in the first, so John Dorsey traded back several spots into the second round and took defensive lineman Chris Jones.)
Lynch’s agent mentioned in a post-draft interview that the Chiefs were also working the phones in a move to get ahead of other interested teams (just like the Broncos) for an opportunity to grab Lynch. Leigh Steinberg explained that the Cowboys, Broncos and Chiefs were all not only trying to trade up but they would call Lynch’s reps to let them know where they stood.
Two years later, Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy admitted the Chiefs did like several things about Lynch:
"“We liked him,” Nagy said. “He was a little bit raw coming out of college. He did some things (with run-pass options) that we liked. He was good with that. He’s a big guy, darn near 6-7, and he can move. You don’t see many guys that can run as good as he can at that height.”"
If that player is suddenly available for free just two years after your own attempts to trade up for him, don’t you take that chance?
2. The value proposition is too great
Remember this isn’t about Patrick Mahomes. If Paxton Lynch comes aboard, he’s not even the No. 3 quarterback in Kansas City, so there’s zero controversy or threat to the pecking order at quarterback.
Instead, the move for Lynch would be all about value for Brett Veach—specifically a low-level investment that could pay hearty dividends down the road.
If the Chiefs were potentially interested in grabbing Lynch in the draft, that means they had a real plan for what to do with him. They trusted their coaches to be able to mold him into an NFL starter even with all of the question marks that he had coming into the league. Is it not worth it to see if the Chiefs still harness something of substance out of all of this?
The Chiefs would have two more years of control over Lynch given his current rookie deal. Imagine if the experiment went well and Lynch looked good in a backup role. Is there any way the Chiefs would not recoup their original investment? Given the need for quarterbacks in this league, if Lynch actually turned a corner and looked like a late bloomer who was still mobile and 6’7, is there a team that doesn’t give up a third round pick for the chance to try him as a starter? I’d be shocked if not.
3. Let’s be honest about the current No. 3
Matt McGloin and Chase Litton are the current quarterbacks behind Mahomes and Chad Henne, and the comparison is making everyone feel good about Litton as some developmental quarterback. He’s talented and could be a nice live arm in practice, but any sort of projection about Litton as holding this great amount of potential seems odd. After all, every single team in the NFL including the Chiefs passed him over 7 times or more in a league that values that position more than anything else.
Here’s what’s true. If you can grab a former first round pick on the cheap and have time to see if you can help him turn the corner, you make that deal every single time. You remove any expectations. You help him mentally clear hurdles of being called a bust. You allow him to grow under a new coaching staff while learning a new system and hope that what was originally there begins to grow in a healthy environment.
You do all of this because if you have an actual quarterback prospect for trade in this league, you can win back far more than you ever put into it. The Indianapolis Colts reportedly turned down a first round pick for Jacoby Brissett this offseason already. A first round pick?!
If the Chiefs can send a conditional 7th round choice and walk away with a broken prospect they should take it.