Matt Flynn emerged as a viable backup quarterback this season with the Green Bay Packers. After a shaky start versus the Detroit Lions, Flynn had a great game in a losing effort versus the New England Patriots.
With Flynn's contract set to expire after the 2011 season, the Packers will have to decide what they want to do with him now. They can't wait until after the 2011 season and hope for the best.
What Flynn's great performance against the Patriots has done, though, is give both Flynn and the Packers options. The Packers quarterback for probably the next eight to ten years is Aaron Rodgers. Flynn has no chance of becoming the starter for anything more than a few games should Rodgers get injured again.
Outside of that, Flynn gets to ride the bench. At this point, though, Flynn's career is going much better than expected. A seventh-round pick in 2008 for the Packers, he has managed to not only stay on the roster, but have some measure of success.
Most seventh-round draft picks either wash out or are NFL nomads, adding depth to rosters of various teams around the league. But Flynn has stayed with the Packers, and now he has real trade value.
The Packers certainly have to realize they can find and develop another backup quarterback, and Flynn now probably is worth more to the team as trade bait than he is as a backup. The Packers aren't worried about the long-term health of Rodgers other than the usual worries any team would have for any of their players.
The Packers certainly could choose to try and re-sign Flynn this offseason to a contract extension, but Flynn's agent may advise against it. It's a risk from a potential injury standpoint, but if you're spending most of the season on the sideline anyway, it's a risk worth taking.
If the Packers wait to try and re-sign him after the 2011 season, they risk losing him and getting nothing in return as another team might offer him the same money, but a real chance to start. At this point, the Packers can't offer Flynn that option.
So that leaves the Packers to try and enter this year's trade market, assuming a new collective bargaining agreement is signed. Once that is in place, Flynn gets to enter one of the deepest markets in the history of the modern NFL. In addition to Donovan McNabb and Vince Young, Carson Palmer has demanded a trade, Kevin Kolb certainly doesn't want to play second string to Michael Vick, and Denver might be trading one of their quarterbacks.
Current thinking has McNabb going to Minnesota, which would work out for Green Bay because they probably wouldn't trade with Minnesota anyway. The Dolphins and 49ers likely are looking for more than one quarterback this offseason, so those two teams become the Packers best options.
Both teams could draft quarterbacks, but neither team is enamored of any of the quarterbacks, so Flynn becomes an attractive option for both teams.
For Flynn, even if he goes into the situation as the backup, whoever is starting will not be Rodgers, so it will be up to Flynn to make his mark. He did that once already in the Patriots game, so whichever front office takes another chance on him will hope history repeats itself.
There also are some free agent quarterbacks to think about, but the big market quarterbacks all will be on the trading block.
The offseason drama will be full of twists and turns, but Flynn's role in the NFL quarterback drama has yet to reveal itself. Keep your eye on this one.