Paxton Lynch is once again a professional quarterback. Hours after his release from the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders, the 28-year-old former Broncos first-rounder joined the new United States Football League (USFL) on Tuesday. The USFL kicked off its 2022 lottery draft Tuesday night, with each round designated for certain positions, and the Michigan Panthers made Lynch the final pick of the 12th round, the second and final round for QB selections.
One of eight franchises in the upstart spring league, the Panthers used their first pick — the No. 1 pick in the draft — on former University of Michigan QB Shea Patterson, their presumptive 2022 starter. Lynch, who’s slated to serve as the backup, was selected last among QBs behind fellow former pros like Jordan Ta’amu, Clayton Thorson, Kyle Lauletta and Kyle Sloter.
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Lynch’s move to the USFL comes after a short-lived run in the CFL. After spending the 2020 season out of football, the former Memphis standout signed with the Roughriders but spent the entire 2021 campaign inactive as the third-string QB. Not only that, per 3DownNation.com, but he also landed on the team’s suspended list prior to the playoffs, before his Tuesday release.
Lynch’s release came at his request, according to his agent, Chris Cabott, who explained via Twitter on Wednesday that the move allowed the QB to enter the USFL portal: “The USFL opportunity offers an easier means of keeping a family together, consistent schooling, not having to worry about border regulation or federal mandated quarantines (due to COVID-19),” he wrote. “Paxton was not cut for poor performance. We made a life decision and the Riders were understanding.”
Best known for his abbreviated tenure with the Broncos, Lynch entered the NFL as the 26th overall pick in 2016. He played just five games, logging four starts, in two seasons with Denver, then spent 2018 out of football. He resurfaced with the Seahawks during the 2019 offseason, then spent time on and off the Steelers‘ practice squad later in the year.