Four starts and four touchdown passes in two NFL seasons.
These aren’t what fans and pundits expect from a quarterback selected in the first round, but this pretty much sums up Paxton Lynch’s career in the National Football League.
Nobody saw this coming, especially after Lynch threw for twenty-eight touchdowns and just four interceptions during his final season at Memphis.
He also threw seven touchdowns in the first half of a game against the SMU Mustangs during his redshirt junior campaign.
Lynch is currently a third-string quarterback for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the Canadian Football League (CFL).
Whether Lynch’s relentless passion for football will somehow lead him back to the NFL gridiron or not is anybody’s guess.
Paxton James Lynch was born to parents David and Stacie in San Antonio, TX on February 12, 1994.
Sports ran in the Lynch family bloodline.
David Lynch played basketball at Texas Wesleyan from 1985 to 1986.
On the other hand, Paxton’s older brother Evin was a baseball pitcher for the Stetson Hatters.
Both Lynch boys are big, athletic specimens: Evin stands 6’8″ and weighs 220 lbs. Paxton is 6’7″ and weighs 244 lbs.
Even when they were toddlers, David and Stacie Lynch knew their sons would compete in sports one day.
By the time Evin and Paxton reached the high school level, their hunch was spot on.
For his part, David supported his sons’ dreams and encouraged them along their journey.
However, he had one rule: you finish what you start.
Paxton Lynch described the role his dad played in his life to the Denver Broncos’ official website two months after the team drafted him in 2016:
“He’s very supportive but at the end of the day, he’s not there to just pat you on the butt and say, ‘Good job’ every time.”
“He tears you down sometimes when you do bad and then brings you back up, and he’s always there for me. He’s definitely one of my biggest supporters and my biggest mentors, for sure.”
His wife, Stacie, told DenverBroncos.com her husband and their boys “had a really great relationship.”
She said David helped coach Paxton when he played Pop Warner and junior high school football.
In fact, Paxton’s junior high school football team went undefeated in his first year on the squad.
Deltona,FL /Trinity Christian Academy pic.twitter.com/chUtewsc4z
— 365 FOOTBALL (@_365Football) May 29, 2015
Stacie wore many hats as a mother.
She home-schooled Paxton and Evin through seventh grade while taking on several work-from-home jobs.
Once the boys attended junior high school, Stacie worked at a local Winn-Dixie bakery.
One of the best perks of the job was bringing home baked goods she made herself that her boys loved.
Paxton Lynch attended Trinity Christian Academy in Deltona, FL.
He was a two-sport star in basketball and football for the Trinity Christian Academy Eagles.
Lynch, a three-star recruit, threw for 2,099 yards on the high school gridiron.
He became a quarterback during his freshman year at TCA when coaches deemed he was too tall to be a running back.
He caught the eye of Memphis Tigers head football coach Justin Fuente and his staff during the Central Florida All-Star Game in December 2011.
In that game, Lynch passed for 237 yards and three touchdowns.
He was the easy choice for MVP honors.
“We were like, ‘Damn, this kid’s got some talent,'” Fuente told SI.com’s Thayer Evans and Pete Thamel in October 2015.
The fact Lynch was a self-taught quarterback was more impressive.
He never relied on private coaching sessions.
Instead, he taught himself how to throw a football based on his baseball throwing mechanics. per SI.com.
According to Evans and Thamel, Florida Tech, Bethune-Cookman, and Florida A&M were interested in recruiting Lynch.
Central Florida stepped into the fray on National Signing Day in 2012.
Unfortunately, it was too little, too late.
Lynch already had given his word to the Memphis Tigers, who were the first to offer him a full scholarship.
He was about to become one of the best quarterbacks in their football program’s history.
College Days With The Memphis Tigers
Paxton Lynch redshirted his freshman season with the Memphis Tigers in 2012.
He struggled when he took the field a year later.
Lynch threw for 2,056 yards, nine touchdowns, and 10 interceptions while recording a 58.2 passer rating.
The Tigers won just three of their twelve games during the 2013 NCAA season, their first in the American Athletic Conference.
Memphis also failed to receive a bowl invite for the fifth straight year.
That would all change during Paxton Lynch’s redshirt sophomore campaign in 2014.
Lynch passed for 3,031 yards, 22 touchdowns, and nine interceptions.
He threw for four touchdowns in a game twice during the 2014 NCAA season, including the 55-48 double-overtime win over the BYU Cougars in the Miami Beach Bowl on December 22, 2014.
To nobody’s surprise, Lynch earned game MVP honors.
He was also named to the All-Conference Second Team.
A rejuvenated Lynch helped the Tigers win ten of thirteen games that year.
They also won their first conference title in forty-three years.
Lynch would build on his newfound success during his redshirt junior season in 2015.
He took his game to an even higher level that year, throwing for 3,776 yards, 28 touchdowns, and just four interceptions in thirteen games.
Paxton Lynch has nine completions today.
— NCAA Football (@NCAAFootball) November 28, 2015
Paxton Lynch re-wrote the NCAA record books twelve games into the 2015 NCAA season.
He threw for an incredible seven touchdowns to seven different receivers in the Tigers’ 63-0 shutout win over the hapless SMU Mustangs on November 28, 2015.
Here’s what made it even more remarkable: Lynch accomplished the gaudy feat in the first half.
Lynch, who didn’t play in the second half, finished the game with 222 passing yards and zero interceptions.
The Tigers won nine of their thirteen games during the 2015 NCAA campaign.
Unfortunately, they lost to the Auburn Tigers in the 2015 Birmingham Bowl in lopsided fashion, 31-10.
Lynch completed just 16 of 37 passes for 106 yards and zero touchdowns in the loss.
Despite finishing his redshirt junior season on a sour note, Paxton Lynch gained national recognition.
Lynch earned All-Conference First Team honors in 2015.
He was named a finalist for the Manning Award and the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, per the Tigers’ official athletics website.
Lynch was also a semifinalist for the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award and the 79th Maxwell Award in 2015.
A day after Memphis’ Birmingham Bowl loss, Lynch announced he would forego his redshirt senior season and declare for the 2016 NFL Draft.
Regrettably, Paxton Lynch wouldn’t taste as much success in the professional ranks.
Pro Football Career
The Denver Broncos badly needed a quarterback after they won Super Bowl 50 in February 2016.
Hall-of-Fame quarterback Peyton Manning, who helped the Broncos win their third Vince Lombardi Trophy, retired a month later to conclude a spectacular eighteen-year NFL career.
Enter Paxton Lynch.
The Broncos made Lynch the 26th overall selection of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Today in 2016, Paxton Lynch of the @Broncos on the cover of Sports Illustrated after being drafted in the first round.
— TodayInSports (@TodayInSports__) May 9, 2020
In order to select Lynch, Denver traded up with the Seattle Seahawks.
The latter received the Broncos’ 31st 94th draft slots in exchange for Seattle’s 26th spot.
Lynch was the third quarterback taken off the draft board behind the Los Angeles Rams’ Jared Goff and the Philadelphia Eagles’ Carson Wentz.
Lynch also solidified the Broncos quarterback depth chart that included starter Trevor Siemian and Mark Sanchez.
Drafting Lynch also ended speculation the Broncos had controversial former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick on their radar, per NFL.com.
Lynch signed a four-year deal worth almost $9.1 million with a $5.1 million signing bonus.
Soon after the Broncos drafted Lynch, his mom Stacie flew to Denver to help him move into his new apartment.
Stacie’s timing couldn’t have been more perfect: when she was in The Mile High City, she witnessed her younger son sign his NFL contract with the Broncos, per the team’s official website.
Paxton Lynch told DenverBroncos.com it was typical of his mom to do those things for him and his brother.
He praised her for her all-out support.
In turn, he brings her to his events – especially life-changing ones – whenever he gets the chance.
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) April 29, 2016
Lynch, the Broncos’ No. 2 quarterback, made his NFL debut against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on October 2, 2016.
He replaced Siemian, who injured his left shoulder with two minutes to go in the first half.
Lynch completed his first NFL pass to wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders to put the game out of reach with 4:39 left.
The Broncos remained undefeated in four games with the 27-7 win over the Buccaneers.
For his part, Lynch completed 14 of 24 passes for 170 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions.
He made his first NFL start a week later against the visiting Atlanta Falcons at Sports Authority Field in Denver.
Filling in for the injured Siemian, Lynch completed 23 of 35 passes for 223 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.
However, the Falcons, behind Matt Ryan’s 257 passing yards and Tevin Coleman’s 132 receiving yards, ended the Broncos’ four-game winning streak with a 23-16 road win.
Despite the respectable stat line, Lynch showed fans and pundits alike why he was a rookie.
He held on to the ball too long at times.
He also overthrew and misfired on some of his passes.
Lynch also displayed below-average footwork in the pocket.
Consequently, the Falcons’ pass rush sacked him six times, setting a record of futility for a Broncos rookie signal caller.
Atlanta defensive end Vic Beasley received credit for 3.5 of those sacks.
Lynch took over the reins for an injured Siemian in the Broncos’ 20-10 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on December 4, 2016.
He went 12-of-24 passing for 104 yards.
He neither had a touchdown pass nor an interception in the victory.
Bradley Roby’s pick-six off Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles in the third quarter sealed the Broncos’ eighth win of the year.
While Denver won nine games, the team missed the postseason for the first time in six years.
To compound matters, head coach Gary Kubiak resigned in January 2017.
The Broncos replaced him with former Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph several days later.
As for Paxton Lynch, he didn’t see much action in the 2017 NFL season.
Lynch was inactive for the first ten weeks of the regular season after sustaining a shoulder injury against the Green Bay Packers during preseason play.
When Lynch returned to the sidelines for the Week 11 game against the Cincinnati Bengals, he was the designated No. 2 quarterback behind Brock Osweiler.
He started the third game of his NFL career the following week against the Oakland Raiders.
Lynch played more like a fourth-string quarterback in the game.
He completed 9 of 14 passes for 41 yards and threw an interception in the end zone.
Lynch injured his ankle in the third quarter and never took the field again in the 21-14 road loss.
A little over a month later, Paxton Lynch played arguably the best game of his NFL career.
Lynch completed 21 of 31 passes and threw for 254 yards, two touchdowns, and two picks in the Broncos’ 27-24 loss to the visiting Kansas City Chiefs on December 31, 2017.
The Chiefs’ pass rush also sacked Lynch five times.
Despite the heartbreaking loss to the Broncos’ division rivals, Lynch told DenverBroncos.com he believes he’s their quarterback of the future.
Broncos head coach Vance Joseph agreed with his quarterback’s assessment.
“I thought Paxton played good football tonight,” he told the team’s official website. “It wasn’t all perfect, but having a chance to finally play a full game, I thought Paxton made some strides tonight.”
In the game’s aftermath, Lynch compared football to a “roller coaster” because of its many ups and downs, per DenverBroncos.com.
Because of the game’s unpredictable nature, Lynch believes the best quarterbacks have a “next play” mentality whenever they make a mistake.
It was a mindset he and his teammates put into practice during the game against Kansas City.
Regrettably, the loss to the Chiefs was Paxton Lynch’s last game in the National Football League.
Denver finished with a disappointing 5-11 win-loss record in 2017.
The Broncos also missed the postseason for a second straight year.
It was a sight Denver fans weren’t accustomed to since they won Super Bowl 50 with the legendary Peyton Manning under center just two years earlier.
As for Paxton Lynch, his fallout in pro football was in full swing.
Prior to the start of the 2018 NFL season, Broncos head coach Vance Joseph relegated Lynch to third-string status behind new acquisition Case Keenum and Chad Kelly.
Lynch suited up for the Broncos’ third preseason game and led them to a 92-yard drive that eventually led to a field goal.
Three of his seven passes went for a first down.
At this point in Lynch’s NFL career, he knew he had struggled.
However, he believed he could overcome his adversities.
“I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do with the hand that’s been dealt to me, and that’s what I’ve been doing,” he told the Broncos’ official website in August 2018. “I’m working my tail off.”
Despite Lynch’s optimism, the Broncos released him when they acquired Kevin Hogan off waivers on September 2, 2018.
Teddy Bridgewater pic.twitter.com/jL1aBrTg4t
— Sportskeeda Pro Football (@SKProFootball) August 27, 2021
Lynch spent the entire 2018 NFL season as a free agent.
The Seattle Seahawks signed him on January 18, 2019 so he could have an opportunity to compete for a backup spot to Russell Wilson.
Unfortunately, Lynch never got that chance.
The Seahawks released him when they made their final roster cuts seven months later.
Lynch lost the battle for the No. 2 quarterback spot to Geno Smith.
The Pittsburgh Steelers gave Lynch another shot at redemption when they signed him to their practice squad on September 17, 2019.
Starter Ben Roethlisberger’s season-ending elbow injury and the Josh Dobbs trade opened the door for Lynch, who was third on the Steelers’ quarterback depth chart behind Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges.
Lynch told TribLive.com’s Chris Adamski the day after the Steelers signed him “I have gotten a humbling” in the past three-and-a-half years.
A humbled Lynch never got a chance to strut his wares in the Steel City.
The Steelers released him on September 5, 2020.
However, all wasn’t lost for Paxton Lynch.
He took his act north of the border almost ten months after the Steelers waived him.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League (CFL) signed him on June 28, 2021.
Lynch joined a Roughriders quarterback roster that includes Cody Fajardo, Isaac Harker, Mason Fine, and Tom Flacco.
Two players making their debut at 2021 #Riders training camp on Day 3:
— Claire Hanna (@clahanna) July 12, 2021
The 6’7″ Lynch is the tallest among the Saskatchewan signal callers.
He’s five inches taller than Fajardo, who stands 6’2″.
As of November 2021, Lynch is the Roughriders’ third-string quarterback behind Fajardo and Harker.
“I don’t look at where I’m now as a spot that I’m in temporarily and using to get back to the NFL,” Lynch told the Regina Leader-Post’s Murray McCormick in November 2021. “That’s my goal, but I’m not using this opportunity that way.”
Paxton Lynch concluded his short-lived NFL career with 792 passing yards, four touchdowns, and four interceptions.
He earned more than $8.8 million during his two-year career with the Denver Broncos, per 3DownNation.com’s Justin Dunk.
It’s a far cry from his current $65,000 base salary with the Roughriders.
It just goes to show Paxton Lynch plays football for the love of the game more than anything else.
Paxton Lynch and his wife Gabrielle have two children: Aja, a six-year-old boy and Ayla, a nine-month-old baby girl.
According to McCormick, Gabrielle and the two kids were with Paxton Lynch for a time in Canada.
However, they have since moved back to their residence in Denver, CO.
Lynch told McCormick that while the arrangement isn’t easy, his wife understands and supports his desire to play football.
Lynch is an avid golfer who shoots in the mid-80s to 90s range, per SI.com.