Saskatchewan Roughriders offensive coordinator Jason Maas won’t put the ‘bust’ label on former first-round NFL pick, quarterback Paxton Lynch.
Maas studied Lynch’s film from his four starts with the Broncos after Denver selected him 26th overall during the 2016 NFL Draft.
“He only got a few starts in the NFL, and when I looked at it, he didn’t look all that bad to me. I don’t want to look at that as a bust. I get it, he was a first-round pick and everyone had high aspirations,” Maas said during a videoconference.
“Paxton’s been very humble, I talked to him on the phone when we signed him. We talked for about an-hour-and-a-half the first night. He’s itching to get up here and get started, you’re excited about that.”
The 27-year-old Lynch will take the field for the first time with the Riders on Monday. He’s been quarantining in the Queen City and learning the offence through Zoom meetings. According to Maas, even though Lynch is a late arrival to training camp, he’s been picking up the playbook quickly.
“He’s a fast learner, he’s put the effort into our offence. The things that I’ve talked about with him, the things that we need to have him understand and learn offensively, he’s been able to grasp and pick up,” Maas said.
“You know he had the skill set to get drafted in the NFL in the first round — down south is different football. Having him come up here with the skill set he has and the work ethic he showed us as a coaching staff, those are steps in the right direction.”
Lynch had a 1-3 win-loss record in the NFL while completing 61.7 percent of his passes for 792 yards with four touchdowns and four interceptions. He hasn’t played in an pro game since the 2017 season. Seattle and Pittsburgh released him among the final training camp cuts in 2019 and 2020, respectively.
“He was a guy that we weren’t sure was interested in coming to Canada, but that obviously changed,” head coach Craig Dickenson said.
Lynch’s agent is Leigh Steinberg who negotiated Vince Young’s contract with Saskatchewan. General manager Jeremy O’Day added Lynch to the Roughriders exclusive 45-man negotiation list on Monday, September 7, 2020. Over 10 months later, Lynch signed a contract with the green and white after earning north of $8.8 million in the NFL.
“There haven’t been too many six-foot-seven guys that can move around, and throw it, up here — it is going to be unique,” Maas said. “Ultimately, it all gets played out.”