It was easy to pick on John Elway a week ago.
Months removed from Super Bowl glory, the Broncos general manager was struggling to find his quarterback of the future, losing Brock Osweiler to the Texans and mired in a bizarre game of chicken with the disgruntled Colin Kaepernick. Denver even looked into a trade for Sam Bradford, which went nowhere.
Sure, Lynch is a project, but in so many ways, so was Osweiler. From a team-building perspective, Elway's handling of the process -- as muddy as it once looked -- has saved the Broncos millions.
While the Texans will pay Osweiler $72 million over four years, Lynch -- arguably a quarterback with better tools -- will sign a four-year deal worth roughly $9.1 million. That's less than Kaepernick will make in 2016 alone.
"Do I have any regrets about this whole thing?" Elway asked Thursday during a conversation with TheMMQB's Peter King. "No. We're thrilled to have ended up where we are, with Paxton. If you had said to me, 'Here are your four options,' and you named the four we just went through, this is the one we'd take. We think Paxton, long-term, is a perfect fit for our offense."
He's right. Lynch might need time to develop, but his massive arm and mobility are ideal for coach Gary Kubiak's bootleg-heavy offense. Elway found the best answer without wiping out Denver's salary cap -- something half the general managers in the NFL struggle to achieve.
"Losing Brock ... at the end I thought Houston was probably going to get him no matter what," Elway said. "With Colin, I thought we were really close. That one surprised me a little. And I did talk to Philadelphia about Sam. I just thought they were asking way too much."
Said Elway: "I just think there's always more than one solution to a problem. It may not be exactly the solution you'd want, but in football, in forming a roster, it's not about taking the easy way -- it's about taking the right way. All the resources you have go into building your team, and if you use too many resources in one area, you have to account for that in another area. So I am comfortable how we used our resources here."
There are still plenty of unknowns here. Denver is likely to open the year with Mark Sanchez under center, but overpaying for the uninspiring Bradford wouldn't have fixed much. Kaepernick looks much better on paper in April than he's bound to in September. As for Osweiler, Elway watched him closely for four years and knew what he'd be willing to pay.
Lynch's future is unknown, but his price tag gives Elway plenty of flexibility to wheel and deal, build his roster and move forward. The former legendary Broncos quarterback has shown equal aptitude in the front office, meaning Denver will be a factor in the AFC for years to come.