Did the Broncos make the right move by letting John Lynch go?

John Lynch.

Word that Broncos all-pro safety John Lynch signed with the New England Patriots after coach Mike Shanahan declined to promise that he'd play every down in Denver left some observers wondering if the team had made a mistake -- but not "Sports Guys" Sandy Clough and Mike Evans, morning hosts on FM 104.3/The Fan. This morning, they scoffed at the notion that any player on a defense that gave up a gag-worthy 409 points last season could be considered indispensible, and particularly not Lynch. They acknowledged that he remains a big hitter against the run, but they described him (accurately) as a liability when the ball's in the air.

So who's right -- the Broncos, who gave up on him, or the Patriots, who think he still has something left? Strangely enough, both.

Lynch may be a surefire Hall of Famer, but his pass defense blows at this point -- and because the Broncos had no pass rush to speak of last season and may not improve a whole lot in that category in 2008, safeties absolutely must be able to keep pace with receivers. But he could still have contributed during spot situations and in the locker room, where his experience and work ethic would be valuable commodities.

Too bad Shanahan couldn't have massaged his ego enough to get him to take this role -- one that he's now agreed to tackle for New England. There's absolutely zero chance that Lynch will get the lion's share of playing time with the Pats, which makes his rationale for leaving the Broncos a little suspect. Then again, there's compensation -- like a damned good chance to walk away from the season with another Super Bowl ring.

No way the Broncos could have promised him that. -- Michael Roberts

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts