Riders release former first-round NFL draft pick QB Paxton Lynch

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders

Former first-round NFL draft pick Paxton Lynch has been released by the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

The six-foot-seven, 244-pound passer spent the entire 2021 regular season on the Riders active roster or one-game injured list, allowing him to collect his full salary while adjusting to the three-down game. He was placed on the team’s suspended list ahead of the playoffs and remained there throughout opening months of the off-season.

Lynch’s compensation for the 2021 season included $65,000 in base salary, $3,600 in housing, and a $200 per-game active roster bonus. He also would have earned an extra $500 for every game in which he played 51 percent or more of Saskatchewan’s offensive snaps.

The 27-year-old did not dress for a game as Cody Fajardo, Isaac Harker, and Mason Fine were the three quarterbacks used by Saskatchewan on game-day rosters during the regular season. Lynch’s contract originally ran through the end of the 2022 season.

After being selected No. 26 overall by the Denver Broncos in the 2016 NFL Draft, Lynch earned more than $8.8 million in the NFL. He suited up in five games during two seasons in Denver, posting a 1-3 win-loss record while completing 61.7 percent of his passes for 792 yards, four touchdowns, and four interceptions.

Lynch hasn’t played in an NFL game since the 2017 season. He was a member of the Seattle Seahawks and Pittsburgh Steelers in recent years but was among final training camp cuts in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

The Riders already have a tailor-made Lynch replacement in place thanks to the signing of six-foot-seven Jake Dolegala earlier this week. The Central Connecticut State product first caught their eye at the College Gridiron Showcase in 2019 and they’ve kept close tabs on him through backup stints with the Bengals, Patriots, Packers and Dolphins.

The Hamburg, N.Y. native trains with former Riders’ receiver Naaman Roosevelt in the off-season and came highly recommended.

Saskatchewan also released American defensive lineman Tim Williams, who missed the 2021 season due to injury.