Reggie McKenzie and the Oakland Raiders are trying to take a shortcut in the rebuilding process by acquiring Matt Flynn from the Seattle Seahawks.
The Raiders have been linked to several quarterbacks (Alex Smith, Geno Smith and Vince Young as well as incumbents Terrelle Pryor and Carson Palmer) throughout the offseason, but the Flynn trade appears to be the most active the Raiders have been.
Just a few days after it became apparent that Palmer would not take a $3 million pay cut to stay in Oakland, the Raiders are actively trying to replace him.
I have a few immediate thoughts on all this news.
First of all, the Raiders may just be trying to scare Palmer into accepting that pay cut. The Flynn talks are being widely reported, but something doesn't sound right about it. McKenzie has few draft picks to spare in a trade, and Flynn has a large contract that the Raiders would inherit. The Raiders have been shedding hefty contracts since McKenzie was hired.
Second, this could be a sign that Terrelle Pryor won't be getting his shot at the NFL as a Raider. Flynn is only 28 years old so he has plenty left in the tank. Acquiring him and his contract would immediately make him the new franchise quarterback and keep Pryor on the bench unless Pryor outplays Flynn in camp like Russell Wilson did.
Third, if the Raiders acquire Flynn, what does that mean for the direction of the team? The Raiders still have many holes to fill, but typically, when acquiring a veteran quarterback via trade, it means the team wants to win now. Would Flynn, a career backup, make the Raiders a playoff contender or would 2013 still be a rebuilding year?
The last two times the Raiders traded for a quarterback, Jason Campbell and Carson Palmer, it was to make the Raiders a playoff team. Both trades failed to deliver. Although both men have extenuating circumstances as perfectly good reasons (one was injured and the other came out of retirement) they still failed to deliver.
Trading draft picks for veterans was one of the bad habits of the old regime in Oakland, and McKenzie seemed to be firmly against that. Perhaps the desire to see progress from Mark Davis has inclined McKenzie to make this move.
If the Raiders do acquire Flynn, it would have to be for a mid-round pick. I still have mixed feelings on the possible trade for the reasons listed above, but the Raiders can't get much worse than they were last year, right?