Cleveland Browns: Why Signing Matt Flynn Is Too Big of a Risk in 2012
Matt Flynn controlled the NFL headlines in Week 17, as he put on one of the best performances by a Green Bay quarterback throughout their storied history. Analysts and fans around the country have already started to crown Flynn as the next big thing, and teams in need of a quarterback will be running for the former LSU Tiger once the Packers' season is finally over.
However, one would have to wonder whether Flynn is the real quarterback package or if he was just the benefactor of an offense that had already solidified themselves as one of the best in football.
Flynn is obviously a good football player in order to even be a quarterback in the NFL. However, a good offensive line and a quality group of receivers can lift the game of a quarterback to levels nobody has ever seen. Flynn was barely even drafted into the NFL, and he sat until the seventh round of the 2008 NFL draft before being selected 209th overall by the Packers.
Flynn has not only had plenty of time to learn Green Bay's offense, but he has a supporting cast that is among the best in football history. Many teams that would look to acquire Flynn during the offseason do not have the same type of offensive firepower Green Bay brings to the table.
In Cleveland's case, many fans would take any of the Packers' receivers over the current group of underachieving orange helmets that take the field on Sundays. It remains to be seen whether or not Flynn could actually have success in an offensive system where his weapons are simply not as good. Teams without quality wide receivers and a similar offensive system would be taking a huge risk because of his inexperience in a poor offense.
The Browns are clearly looking for another option at quarterback, but they are not following the proper procedures in order to help their field generals succeed. Cleveland has continuously failed to put weapons on the field for their quarterbacks, and they rarely have a rushing attack to help ease the pressure. The Browns must make a change in order to help a young quarterback have success rather than breaking their spirit after their first season in Cleveland. Until the Browns put more pieces in place, bringing in a new quarterback may cause more harm than good.
Flynn is expected to warrant a contract somewhere in the $50 million range because of the huge free-agent contracts of Matt Shaub and Kevin Kolb over the last few seasons. Cleveland already dished out a long-term deal for Seneca Wallace last season, and they have Colt McCoy under contract until the end of 2014. It would be reasonable to believe that either of those quarterbacks could play for at least one more season before they are given the hook.
Spending that type of money on an unknown quarterback can be crippling for a franchise like Cleveland. The Browns have been taking a steady course of building through the draft over the last few seasons and, for the most part, have spent their money wisely. A huge contract for Flynn would mean a very tight cap to re-sign current players and pay any free agents that could help fill significant holes.
Flynn will undoubtedly be with a new team next season, but the asking price for his talents may be too large for Cleveland to consider at this point in the plan. Cleveland is still in prime position to draft another quarterback in April and also has plenty of cap room to explore cheaper options this spring.
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