Dec 9, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Flynn (15) throws a pass against the Arizona Cardinals at CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks defeated the Cardinals 58-0. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Flynn Situation: Release Very Unlikely

After reviewing the terms to Matt Flynn’s contract, I can now say that it is very unlikely that the Seahawks will release him outright.

Back in November, I spelled out the salary cap implications of both cutting and trading Flynn and his contract. Since then those numbers have been used when referring to Flynn and his contract. The problem is that I made a mistake.

That mistake, was that I forgot to include the fact that the part of Flynn’s 2013 contract is guaranteed. That means that if Flynn is cut, the Seahawks will have to pay him anyways, and that portion of his salary will still count against the Seahawks’ salary cap, even if he’s playing for another team.

With the correct figures, the salary cap savings for cutting Flynn becomes less than it would cost to sign a replacement backup QB. While it’s possible that they could draft backup QB, it would be very out of character for the Seahawks to go into the draft needing a player and not having a “backup plan” vet already on the roster.

If Flynn is traded, this extra cap hit doesn’t apply. The new team takes over all salary responsibilities, even the guaranteed portion. That way, only the remaining portion of the original signing bonus counts against Seattle.

In case you’re interested in how the numbers actually work out, here they are:

Situation Cap # Cap Savings
On Roster $7.25 mil      –
Released $6 mil* $1.25 mil
Traded $4 mil $3.25 mil

*There is one detail that could solve part of this problem. It isn’t normal in contracts like this one, but it is possible that the Seahawks built “offsets” into Flynn’s contract. (This info is not available to me at this time.) Offsets mean that if Flynn signs a new contract with another team, some of the money owed to him by Seattle won’t have to be paid because he’ll be earning that money in his new contract.

If the contract does happen to have offsets, then likely this means that the Seahawks would get about $550,000 back (if full offset, less if partial offset) on their 2013 cap number. It’s hard to believe that his new contract would be structured in a way that gives Seattle more relief than the league minimum. There is simply no reason for his new team to do so, since it would only cost them money.

When you put it all together, I think the odds indicate that Flynn will either be traded, or be back in Seattle for one more season. It simply makes very little sense to cut him.

I won’t say it’s impossible that he’ll be released since I have seen weirder things happen, but it would be a very out of character waste of salary cap space to do so.

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  • Hawk_Eye

    I totally agree. All this talk of him being released without any compensation makes no sense. Why would we release him if we have don’t have a good backup quarterback option? I do think John Schneider will trade him if they can get some good value, like a 3rd round pick or more. This would be a good year to do it, if you look whats available through the draft. Otherwise, it just doesn’t make any sense.

    • 12thMan_Rising

      There has to be a reason for a player to be released. Is he bad? certainly not. Is cutting him worth it to save $ on the cap? not in this case, since they can’t sign a replacement for the little bit they’d save.

  • Hanley H. Bonynge

    The two QBs’ salaries essentially being flipped for their positions doesn’t mean that we should cut either. I’m also not convinced that just because they are different types of QBs means we should find a less good but more mobile replacement for Flynn.

    • 12thMan_Rising

      The total money spent on a position is irrelevant and I’m not sure why people continue to bring that. Judge contracts individually, not by position group.

      I’m wondering if a QB like Flynn might be better for QB2, than a lesser version of Wilson. That way if Flynn has to come into the game, the defense wont be prepared for the type of offense that Seattle will be running.

      • Hanley H. Bonynge

        I see it the same way as diversifying a portfolio. I look at total money spent on a position as one factor of several. There is no sense it setting a large chunk of money aside to get great players at a position or two if it means you can’t afford quality players elsewhere. If Seattle was paying Wilson a contract like Okung’s I’d evaluate Flynn’s contract differently although in this case it might not matter because of the way it is structured.

        To your point of Flynn being a QB2, I think he has a lot of value. He has demonstrated both an analytic astuteness that helps Wilson during games as well as helping the defense prepare for opposing QBs. To go to your latest post, if you’re looking for a QB that can go 1-2 while Wilson is out, I think Flynn can do that.

  • Hawkman54

    First off Flynn is definately not an option style QB but to say he isn’t mobile just isn’t true! Secondly there is no way the JS/PC are going to just release him . That is NEVER going to happen. If it was me I would hold out for a 2nd rounder , isn’t that what they gave up for Whitehurst?

    • 12thMan_Rising

      They gave up a 3rd for Jesus. Flynn’s situation is different though. it’s just about talent. Seahawks gave up more to keep him out of Arizona + he came cheap. Flynn comes with a decent sized contract, which drives down his trade value.

      • Hawkman54

        They swapped second round picks ending with # 60 ( essentially a 3rd rounder) and gave their 3rd rounder . So you could say they gave a second and traded 3rds ( almost what happened) Just saying Flynn (contract or not) is worth way more than CW!

        • 12thMan_Rising

          He is. we know that now, but lots of people thought otherwise at the time.

  • Nate F

    I thought Flynn “only” gets paid $4 million this coming year unless he hits certain escalators, which we know isn’t going to happen if he’s a backup. I could definitely be wrong, but that’s what I have heard about his contract. There’s no way he gets cut if that’s the case. That’s a very low total investment on the most important position on the field.

  • cc

    It might help to remember that “anyway” is an adverb, and adverbs can’t be plural.