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Oct 15, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Paxton Lynch (12) in the third quarter against the New York Giants at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

After suffering a right shoulder injury that ended his preseason early, second-year quarterback Paxton Lynch is finally healthy, and set to back up Brock Osweiler on Sunday as the Broncos host the Bengals. As reported by Jeff Legwold and Mike Klis, Trevor Siemian will be inactive.

While it looks like a precipitous fall for Siemian, who has tumbled from the starting role to the inactive list in three weeks, the Broncos’ abysmal season means that the Broncos need to find out everything they can about Lynch before they head into what will certainly be a tumultuous offseason. Siemian, last season’s starter and a team captain, is a known entity to the Broncos. While he doesn’t profile as a long-term starter in the NFL, he’s more than shown enough for the organization to have confidence in him as a long-term backup.

Osweiler is an unrestricted free agent after the season ends, and the Cleveland Browns are picking up the vast majority of his salary this season, making Peyton Manning‘s one-time backup a cost-effective addition — but his performances for the Broncos will likely amount to little more than an audition for his next team.

This move — and all of the Broncos’ quarterback moves for the remainder of the season — will be about Lynch. If the Broncos were to lose to the Bengals on Sunday, Lynch would almost certainly start on the following week against the Raiders. That might just happen anyway.

For a talented Broncos squad too often brought low by poor quarterback play since Manning rode off into the sunset with his Lombardi Trophy in tow, nothing matters more to the team’s near-term and long-term futures than finding ‘the man’. Siemian and Osweiler have had their chances; soon enough, it will be Lynch’s term to either lay claim to the role — or prove that the Broncos’ long and painful search will continue into 2018.

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