Lost amid all of the clamoring by some small segment of Pittsburgh Steelers fans for the team to go out and get a veteran quarterback is the fact that the Steelers already have…somewhat of a veteran quarterback who was on their 53-man roster last year.
Although his actual in-game experience and performance wouldn’t exactly suggest as much, that would be Paxton Lynch, who has already been around the league for four years, as a 2016 first-round draft pick by the Denver Broncos.
Denver dumped him after two seasons, however, opting to experiment with an undrafted rookie in Trevor Siemien, for example, and Lynch has been kicked around to a number of teams since then. After he failed to make the Seattle Seahawks’ 53-man roster in 2019, he remained unsigned for weeks until the Steelers signed him following Devlin Hodges’s being promoted to the 53-man roster and Ben Roethlisberger being placed on injured reserve.
Despite the fact that no other quarterback then on the roster had ever thrown a pass before, however, he never actually got into a game, or even rose to the level of backup. Back in 2015, the Steelers went out and signed Mike Vick to be Roethlisberger’s backup after Bruce Gradkowski was injured, even though Landry Jones was going into his third season.
Though he didn’t play, however, that doesn’t mean he’s being ignored. In fact, general manager Kevin Colbert mentioned him specifically last week when he was asked about the Steelers’ backup quarterback situation and if they felt the need to add some experience.
“We’re also encouraged to have a young man like Paxton Lynch in the group”, he said. “Paxton Lynch is a talented guy that’s moving into his fourth season, but he’s a talented former first-round pick, and sometimes a talented young guy finds a new home and finds a path back into the significant play, so we think Paxton could”.
The Steelers seem committed on carrying the quarterbacks that they currently have on their 90-man roster into training camp and determining their 53-man roster based on that. Roethlisberger will be the starter, of course, assuming that he is capable of playing, with Mason Rudolph as his backup, based on the current plan.
Who the third quarterback is, perhaps, is yet to be determined. The Steelers are obviously not giving up on Hodges, but Lynch has not had the opportunity to experience an offseason with the team yet. He will have that chance now, to really learn the offense and things like that. At the bare minimum, the door is open for him to make the most of it. If he doesn’t, he’ll be in the XFL next year.