Riders put former first-round NFL pick, QB Paxton Lynch on exclusive negotiation list

Photo courtesy: University of Memphis Athletics

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have put former first-round NFL pick, quarterback Paxton Lynch on the team’s exclusive negotiation list.

Lynch was selected in the first round, 26th overall by the Denver Broncos in the 2016 NFL draft. He was the third quarterback taken after Jared Goff and Carson Wentz went first and second overall in that order. Los Angeles and Philadelphia still have the high-end selections starting at quarterback while Lynch’s stint in the Mile High City came to an end rather quickly.

The 26-year-old spent two seasons in Denver, suiting up in five games and starting four. He had a 1-3 win-loss record while completing 61.7 percent of his passes for 792 yards with four touchdowns and four interceptions. Lynch hasn’t played in an NFL game since the 2017 season. Seattle and Pittsburgh released him among the final training camp cuts in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

The six-foot-seven, 245-pound passer played NCAA football at the University of Memphis. He started 38 games for the Tigers passing for 8,863 yards, 59 touchdowns versus 23 interceptions with a 62.9 completion rate while adding 687 yards and 17 rushing touchdowns. After being tabbed as a three-star recruit by Rivals, Lynch outperformed his ranking at Memphis.

Saskatchewan has face of the franchise Cody Fajardo under contract through the 2021 season. That matches with Isaac Harker, who started the final game of the regular season last year for the Riders. James Franklin inked a pact for the 2020 season, which never took place. By the time potential games are played in 2021, the green and white’s quarterback situation could change.

Lynch is currently a free agent who has earned over $8.8 million in the NFL. His agent is Leigh Steinberg who negotiated Vince Young’s contract with the Riders. Current GM Jeremy O’Day was an assistant general manager under Chris Jones when Steinberg came to town with Young. There could be an existing relationship which might bode well for Saskatchewan if there is motivation for Lynch to come north of the border.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.