Grading Matt Flynn Trade to Oakland Raiders
Flynn, who turns 28 years old in June, would have been a pricey backup for the Seahawks. He's now a cheap starter for the rebuilding Raiders.
In the following slides, we will grade the entirety of the deal, from the fit in Oakland to the price and potential risk.
The fit here is an obvious one.
Flynn, who was drafted by a regime in Green Bay that included current Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie, arrives in Oakland with offensive familiarity and a chance to be as good or better than Carson Palmer at less than half the price.
Palmer, overpriced and overrated, will now be shipped out of Oakland, likely for a similar late-round pick.
The end result is Flynn taking over for Palmer as the team's current top quarterback, with a price tag of just $5.25 million in 2013. Palmer is scheduled to make $13 million under his current deal next season.
While the fit for Flynn in Oakland is an obvious one, the opinions of his quarterbacking ability vary greatly.
On one hand, Flynn has started two NFL games—one in New England in 2010, and one vs. Detroit in 2011—and played great in both. He threw three scores and nearly beat the Patriots in Foxborough and then broke Packers franchise records in an aerial assault of the Lions to close out 2011.
But his inexperience is clearly an issue, and there's reason to wonder about the perception of his talent after a string of events over the last 12 months.
Not only did the quarterback-needy Miami Dolphins—led by former Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin—pass on Flynn in free agency last offseason, but third-round pick Russell Wilson convincingly beat out the former seventh-round pick in an open quarterback competition in Seahawks camp last summer.
Flynn's ability level probably falls in between the two varied spectrums.
While Flynn probably won't consistently post the kind of elite numbers he did in two starts in Green Bay, he's better than a simple backup and deserves this chance to start.
At the very worst, the Raiders are getting an average-armed quarterback who makes smart decisions, knows the West Coast offense and can produce if put into the right situation. In the best case, Oakland has found a legitimate answer at quarterback for the foreseeable future.
Flynn (6'2", 225 lbs.) may not be an elite physical talent, but this trade does not come without value to the Raiders from a football standpoint.
Thanks to several misguided trades from the previous regime, McKenzie is approaching the 2013 draft with a limited supply of picks. Smartly, this trade did not further erode that capital this year.
McKenzie gave up a late-round pick next year and a conditional pick in 2015, which is a bargain price for a quarterback that has starting potential in the NFL.
The Raiders are clearly a rebuilding franchise, and draft picks supply the building blocks to such a rebuild. But at this price, it's hard to fault McKenzie for pulling the trigger.
Fixing the quarterback position will always be the NFL's ultimate key to returning to relevancy. McKenzie didn't need to send much in terms of draft capital out of Oakland to provide another potential answer at the game's most important position.
This trade features very little risk for the Raiders.
The price tag of two late-round picks not only provides Oakland with little in terms of compensation risk, but it also allows the team to still feel comfortable drafting another quarterback high in 2013 or 2014 if necessary.
If the Raiders draft a guy like Geno Smith in the first round later this month (or any of the second-tier options available), Oakland will suddenly have a much more promising situation at the quarterback position than they did before this deal.
Flynn, "draft pick X" and the raw but talented Terrelle Pryor certainly provide an intriguing trio.
And even if Flynn busts as a starter, he'll be nothing more than a pricey backup in an otherwise cheap quarterback stable.
There's a lot to like about this deal for Oakland.
Not only is Flynn a potential talent upgrade over Carson Palmer, but he'll also cost the Raiders a fraction of what Palmer was scheduled to make next season. The salary cap relief is significant enough.
The price tag for McKenzie was certainly palatable and allows him to spend another high pick on a quarterback to complete his rebuild of the Raiders' dicey quarterback situation. As mentioned before, finding the right quarterback is the key to any recovery in the NFL.
Giving up two draft picks isn't ideal for a franchise so clearly in rebuild-mode, but this situation was worth the compensation.
While not a game-changer for Oakland, this deal for Flynn is the kind of low-risk, high-reward move that makes franchises better. The Raiders are better today than they were yesterday.
Overall Grade: B+
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