In March of 2012, the Seattle Seahawks went out and signed quarterback Matt Flynn to a three-year, $19.5 million contract. It was a risky move, to say the least, considering Flynn has only racked up 141 pass attempts in his five-year career.
His numbers with the Green Bay Packers through his first four seasons as a pro were mediocre if anything. He completed 82 of 132 passes for 1,015 yards, with nine touchdowns and five interceptions.
What attracted most teams to take a look at Flynn in free agency was his Week 17 performance against the Detroit Lions in 2011. Flynn completed 31 of 44 passes for 480 yards and six touchdowns with only one interception in that contest.
Is one game enough proof for a team to dish out a $19.5 million contract? If you ask me, I say no. Take into consideration that aside from that one game against the Lions, Flynn’s best game was for 251 yards against the Patriots in 2010 after Aaron Rodgers went down with an injury. Not to mention, Flynn has only started two games in his entire career.
In his first season with Seattle, he has seen less than half of a game of regular season playing time, which came in a demolition at home against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 14 when the Seahawks won 58-0. The game got ugly fast, so maybe head coach Pete Carroll was trying to give Flynn an audition for prospective teams that may be interested in him.
It is clear that Seattle has their guy. Russell Wilson has been a pleasant surprise for them. Through 14 games, Wilson has recorded 2,697 passing yards and 402 rushing yards. What has been more impressive than the stat sheet is his ability to win games late, as evidenced by his three fourth-quarter comebacks thus far in his rookie campaign. Don’t forget that his team also sits at 9-5.
It is clear that as long as Seattle doesn't lose out, Wilson's job is safe—which means Matt Flynn likely won't see a start in Seattle.
As far as Flynn’s skills go, there aren’t too many flaws. The only thing that worries me is the lack of experience and his arm strength. His vision, touch and accuracy stand out to me, but again, you have to start more than two NFL games in my opinion to earn such a heavy contract.
So let's take a look at some teams that are in need of a quarterback and whether or not Flynn’s style of play is suitable for any of them.
The Chiefs probably need a quarterback as badly as any of the teams I have listed, but they already took a gamble on Matt Cassel. The chances they would be willing to take a risk on another backup quarterback are slim to none. It is likely they try to take the best quarterback available in this year’s draft.
Flynn showed that his vision and awareness were on point while he was in Green Bay. To play in a Mike McCarthy offense, you need to have good awareness to spread the ball over the field to all of your receivers. He would fit into an offense that holds a solid receiving corps. With the emergence of Cecil Shorts III and Justin Blackmon, Jacksonville wouldn’t be a bad landing spot for Flynn.
The Raiders gave up way too much to get Carson Palmer, so going after Flynn is not likely for them. At 3-10 through 13 games, it’s hard to imagine that the Raiders are happy with what Palmer has been able to do for them. If they were smart, Oakland would at least give Flynn a look, considering Flynn could do well in their offensive scheme.
The Raiders possess an arsenal of rising young receivers in Denarius Moore, Rod Streater and Juron Criner. Palmer is getting older, while Flynn is only 27. Again, they should at least give him a look.
Kevin Kolb’s health and lack of skills have proven costly for the Cardinals. But with how poorly Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is playing in Philly, they didn’t lose that much trying to get him.
Both Flynn and Kolb fit into the same tier of quarterbacks in my mind. They both have little experience. The only difference is that Flynn has at least showed some promise in his little amount of playing time, while Kolb has proven to be nothing but a liability.
John Skelton and Ryan Lindley won’t get it done for them, either. Flynn’s accuracy wouldn’t be too bad with a guy like Larry Fitzgerald.
The Bills clearly have no backup, but they made Ryan Fitzpatrick the quarterback of their future after giving the Harvard standout a $59 million contract extension back in 2011. He has not performed up to the level you would expect a guy making that money to live up to, and Flynn would be a much cheaper investment.
Buffalo’s first priority would be to get some receivers. They have a tight end and a running game, but it’s hard for a quarterback to succeed when none of your receivers are over 6’2”.
Anything sounds more appealing than Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow and Greg McElroy. The only issue aside from that is the Jets have an awful offensive line. The only way this happens is if they trade a pick over to Seattle and snag a top-tier offensive lineman in the upcoming draft.
Don't forget Sanchez is owed $8.3 million next season. I don't see any team rushing to pick that up anytime soon.
Flynn is slated to earn $5.25 million in 2013, but it wouldn’t be wise for the Seahawks to pay a guy that much money to sit on their bench. The lack of NFL experience makes bringing Flynn in for a starting gig a risky move for any ballclub—though I do believe he deserves a shot just as much as Mark Sanchez, Carson Palmer, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Cassel or Kevin Kolb.
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