When Matt Flynn torched the Lions in Week 17, a legend was born. More important than being a legend, Flynn earned a spot as a starting quarterback in the NFL.
In just his second career start, Flynn went for 480 yards and six touchdowns. The touchdown passes gave him a Packers' record, which is no small accomplishment.
In his previous start (in 2010), Flynn led the Packers to a close road loss against the New England Patriots, who would go onto a 14-2 season. In that game, he threw for 251 yards and three touchdowns.
But we're not looking back. Clearly, we know that Flynn can pass the ball. The question is, which teams need to pursue Flynn to have him starting for them in 2012?
The Seahawks can compete in the NFC West. It was one of the NFL's least suspenseful divisions this year and I am not saying that the 49ers are going to fade, but they won't be a consistent 13-3 team.
Tarvaris Jackson is not a long term option for Seattle. He holds the ball too long and throws too many interceptions. The interceptions are one thing, but he also doesn't throw for enough yards or touchdowns.
Despite all of those troubles, the Seahawks still managed their way to a 7-9 record, beating the Giants, Ravens and Eagles along the way.
If the Seahawks can bring Marshawn Lynch back, they have a running game that's better than stable. On defense, they're solid. What they lack is a consistent vertical attack. Flynn would make them instantly better.
I wrestled with whether or not to include this team. Other teams included here are close to contention. Despite a strong finish to the season, I don't like the Dolphins as contenders—not when they're in the same division as the Patriots, and even the Jets.
But Flynn will be 27 when the season begins next year. There's plenty of time to build talent around him, and they're not far from contention.
The Dolphins have a good running attack and running defense. They're a defensive back away from being at least a decent passing offense (witness Carlos Rogers to the 49ers). With another receiver, the Dolphins can be at least a wild-card contender in short order.
The trade to bring Carson Palmer in was anything but an unqualified success. Palmer came into Oakland and turned the ball over at an alarming rate.
But there's one other reason why the Raiders need to pursue Flynn and not just another quarterback. They have no choice.
Flynn is a free agent. The Raiders do not have the draft picks to select a quarterback or trade for one. The majority of Oakland's draft picks have been dealt. A free agent quarterback is the best option.
The Raiders are not far from contention. They finished 8-8 for a second season in a row, but lost the tiebreaker. With consistent play from their quarterback, they would have won the AFC West.
Look at it this way. In 2010, the Raiders swept the division with a 6-0 record, but went 8-8 overall. This year, they were again 8-8, but were only 3-3 on the division. Every division win was at home. If they had managed one home win in the division, they would have won the AFC West outright.
A stable quarterback situation would have done that.
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