Rumor: Cleveland Browns interested in Paxton Lynch?


The Cleveland Browns are still in need of a quarterback and may be interested working out a deal for Memphis’ Paxton Lynch.

The 2016 NFL Draft will kick off Thursday night in Chicago, meaning there are just a few days left for rumors and reports to circulate about what the Cleveland Browns will do this weekend.

The Browns, currently in the opening stages of their latest rebuilding efforts, are holders of 12 selections in this year’s draft – including six of the draft’s first 100 selections. While the team has numerous holes to fill on the roster, it is highly unlikely that they will use all 12 picks on players.

More likely, executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown will combine some of those picks to continue to move around this year’s draft or add additional selections for the 2017 draft. All that draft capital has led many to speculate that the Browns are not done trading, with Monday Morning Quarterback’s Peter King laying out just such a scenario in his latest mock draft, where he has the Browns selecting Notre Dame offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley, but with a caveat:

"Browns would love to trade for even more value for this pick. Lots of buzz that coach Hue Jackson likes Paxton Lynch and is advocating for the Memphis quarterback, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see a trade down (maybe for a team to move up for Myles Jack or Eli Apple), with Cleveland ending up with an extra second-round pick in a draft packed with second-round and third-round value. But Stanley looks like very good value here as the eventual heir to Joe Thomas. Who knows? If the Browns get a great offer for Thomas, maybe that heir thing will happen this year."

While we like the idea of the Browns keeping an eye on the offensive line, an area where they have drafted well in recent years, the thought of selecting another offensive lineman high in the first round of the draft would not be very appealing to many Browns fans.

Related: Cleveland Browns draft profile: Paxton Lynch

But it is later in the mock draft that King puts out an interesting idea, as he has the Browns swinging a deal with the Seattle Seahawks to move back into the first round to grab their presumed quarterback of the future:

"26. Cleveland: Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis. If Seattle stays, I’d forecast Alabama center Ryan Kelly or Texas A&M tackle Germain Ifedi. But trading up assures the Browns of getting the quarterback who fascinates coach Hue Jackson. Lynch will need at least a year of seasoning, which is fine with Cleveland because they want to get it right and will wait if need be. The Browns may consider a bigger trade somewhere in the round if they think Lynch is garnering significant interest and may be picked sooner."

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Well, isn’t that an interesting twist? There’s little doubt that Jackson probably does like Lynch, in his short time in Cleveland he’s revealed a Jon Gruden-like affection for any and every quarterback, how much he wants Lynch as his quarterback is obviously unknown. If they really do believe he is the guy, then the Browns should probably just select him at No. 8 and be done with it. But that’s where the extra draft picks come in handy as they give the Browns the resources to make a move if Lynch falls in the first round. (Just as long as they don’t pick him at No. 22.)

The Browns are not the only team that may covet Lynch, of course, and with quarterbacks Jared Goff and Carson Wentz almost assuredly going off the board with the first two picks, Lynch will quickly turn into a hot commodity for teams looking for a quarterback – the Chicago Bears at No. 11 and New Orleans Saints at No. 12 may consider him, for example. There are also a few more days for the hype to build around Lynch, especially if he is as good as Eric Galko at The Sporting News believes:

"Lynch’s role in Memphis’s growth both illustrates his quarterback ceiling and displays why he’ll be able to adjust to any NFL offense. He’s overcome terrible offensive line play over the last two seasons — breakdowns in blocking that forced Lynch to adjust under duress and improve as a mobile quarterback."

"Lynch’s role in helping a program like Memphis grow speaks volumes about his leadership, appreciation for the building process and making do with lesser talent around him. These three traits are essential for young NFL quarterbacks as front offices eventually build around them. While Jared Goff can offer similar experiences — having helped lead Cal from the bottom of the Pac-12 to a respectable 8-5 record by his junior season — Goff was surrounded by a lot more NFL talent than Lynch."

The NFL Draft is just three days away, and then all the rumors and speculation will turn into reality.