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Oakland Raiders Demoting Matt Flynn Is a Knock on Reggie McKenzie

D.J. O'ConnorSenior Analyst IIIOctober 3, 2013

May 28, 2013; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie watches quarterback Matt Flynn (15) take the snap at organized team activities at the Raiders practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback Matt Flynn was perhaps the Oakland Raiders' biggest acquisition of this past offseason.

While mostly backing up Aaron Rodgers, Flynn had two good games as a starter for the Green Bay Packers in 2010 and 2011 and hit free agency in 2012. He was given a lucrative contract by the Seattle Seahawks, but was beaten in training camp by rookie sensation Russell Wilson.

A year later, Flynn was given $6.5 million in guaranteed money and Oakland gave Seattle two late-round draft picks to make Flynn the starting quarterback for the Raiders.

General manager Reggie McKenzie had been in Green Bay with Flynn and gave him a chance in Oakland.

Four weeks into the 2013-14 NFL season, Flynn has gone from being the presumptive starter to Terrelle Pryor's backup. Now, the latest news from Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com suggests that Flynn has become Matt McGloin's backup. In other words, he's No. 3 on the depth chart.

McGloin is an undrafted free agent from Penn State who did so well in training camp and preseason that he went from being a camp arm to securing a roster spot behind Pryor and Flynn.  

He beat out another QB in camp as well. Fourth-round draft pick Tyler Wilson was expected to make the 53-man roster because of his draft status and guaranteed money. That was not the case, as Wilson was cut but then placed on the practice squad after none of the 31 other NFL teams claimed him.

Those are now two strikes against McKenzie in terms of scouting quarterbacks.

He spent a combination of three draft picks and close to $7 million on Flynn and Wilson only for both of them to fail to do what they were supposed to do.

Flynn was supposed to beat the final draft pick by Al Davis, Pryor, so that McKenzie could have his guy as the starting quarterback while Wilson was supposed to be a serviceable backup. Neither got the job done.

In McKenzie's defense, he did find McGloin in the pool of undrafted players and did not cut or trade Pryor for the sake of his ego. He's even allowed Pryor to be Oakland's starting signal-caller this season.  

The problem with McKenzie here is that he spent $6.5 million and two draft picks to acquire a third-string QB who will likely be cut by the team at the end of the year. Despite the red flags that were raised when Flynn was in Seattle, McKenzie still went ahead and overpaid for an under-performing player.

I like McKenzie and understand the incredibly difficult rebuilding job he is doing in Oakland, but this is a huge mistake he has made.

That $6.5 million on the 2013 payroll could have been used to keep either Desmond Bryant, Philip Wheeler or Shane Lechler, but instead the Raiders got themselves the NFL's highest-paid third-string QB.

Now that's out of whack.

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