When it became clear that Matt Flynn was on the trading block I must confess I had mixed feelings. I like Flynn and I feel for him because things probably didn’t work out exactly as he planned last year through no fault of his own. The ascendance of Russell Wilson was something that very few predicted and Flynn had done nothing to lose his perch atop the Seahawks depth chart except be in competition with a truly special player. I hope he gets an opportunity to start because I think he’s among the 32 best QB’s in the league and deserves a shot. Additionally the return the Seahawks stand to gain in terms of draft picks and salary cap relief is going to be very useful, both for resigning a guy like Kam Chancellor and restocking the roster with quality depth. I understand and agree with the rationale behind dealing Flynn but the eternal pessimist in me really would like an elite Russell Wilson insurance policy in a year where the Seahawks are really going for it. That said, although it looks like the Raiders, Jaguars, and Bills are the front runners for Flynn, rumors of his departure got me thinking of just how many teams Matt Flynn could start for at this moment in time. I’m a guy who likes to base his theories on statistics and to be honest there aren’t a ton of statistics on Flynn so this is more subjective than I’d like, but it’s just a fun thought experiment. Quarterback depth charts aren’t finished yet but there isn’t a star QB in the draft that I’m convinced would be better than Flynn anyway. So let’s take a look at just how many teams Mr. Flynn could start for in today’s NFL:
#1 QB: Tavaris Jackson
Is Flynn an upgrade? Yes. The Seahawks brought in Flynn as an upgrade over Jackson just a year ago and Buffalo seems to be gunning for Flynn so this one is pretty easy.
New York Jets
#1 QB: Mark Sanchez
Is Flynn an upgrade? Yes. Mark Sanchez is awful. Sanchez has completed 55.1% of his passes in his career with more interceptions than touchdowns. Flynn may be something of an unknown quantity but I know he’s better than Sanchez.
#1 QB: Ryan Tannehill
Is Flynn an upgrade? Maybe, but I’ll go with no. Tannehill showed a great deal of potential as a rookie last year and could be poised for a breakout. With the kind of seasons RGIII, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson had last year people seem to forget that quarterbacks often take a while to develop.
New England Patriots
#1 QB: Tom Brady
Is Flynn an upgrade? No. Just no.
#1 QB: Ben Roethlisberger
Is Flynn an upgrade? Definitely not. Two rings and underrated statistics place Roethlisberger among the elite quarterbacks in the NFL.
#1 QB: Joe Flacco
Is Flynn an upgrade? No. You’d hope not for Baltimore’s sake given what they are paying Flacco.
#1 QB: Andy Dalton
Is Flynn an upgrade? No. Dalton is no superstar but he’s a good quarterback, not one you would be looking to replace.
Top QB on the Depth Chart: Brandon Weeden
Is Flynn an upgrade? I’d say yes. Weeden may only be a sophomore but he’s two years older than Flynn so it’s not as if there is a ton to dream on in terms of his development. I doubt the Cleveland front office would agree, but I just can’t see Weeden as a franchise player.
#1 QB: Matt Schaub
Is Flynn an upgrade? No. Schaub is getting a great deal of flak with Houston’s failure to go deep in the playoffs the last two years but he remains a solid starting quarterback.
#1 QB: Andrew Luck
Is Flynn an upgrade? No. I would like to say here that Andrew Luck’s rookie year has been heavily overrated. He put up enormous yards because the Colts threw so much and he had difficulty with accuracy and avoiding turnovers. Not to say he doesn’t have an incredibly bright future ahead of him because he does, I guess that’s just a little bit of Russell Wilson fan rant that needed to come out. No one would rather have Matt Flynn than Andrew Luck though.
#1 QB: Chad Henne/Blaine Gabbert (?)
Is Flynn an upgrade? Yes. Very much so. This is where I suspect he winds up for a reunion with Gus Bradley. It’s funny how that is a storyline people have mentioned when Flynn was the backup QB and Bradley was the defensive coordinator, I wonder to what extend they know each other…
#1 QB: Jake Locker
Is Flynn an upgrade? This is a tough one. I think in all likelihood Flynn is an upgrade on Locker who is probably a bust. However, Locker is only 25 and has only started 11 games in his career and you have to think Locker deserves a little more time to show he belongs. Verdict: Reluctant no.
#1 QB: Peyton Manning
Is Flynn an upgrade? No.
San Diego Chargers
#1 QB: Phillip Rivers
Is Flynn an upgrade? Two years ago this question would have been a joke. Now I have to pause for a second but Rivers still deserves a chance to regain his elite form and hasn’t been as bad over the last two years as people think. (Passer Ratings of 88.7 and 88.6 just to give you an idea)
Kansas City Chiefs
#1 QB: Alex Smith
Is Flynn an upgrade? The Chiefs must not think so because they paid far more for Smith than Flynn is going to cost. Smith is better but Flynn will most likely be a better value.
#1 QB: Carson Palmer (for now)
Is Flynn an upgrade? Sadly yes. I remember when Palmer was an elite quarterback but those days are deep in the past. Palmer has been a huge disappointment in Oakland, especially given the price they paid for him. Oakland is in the running for Flynn and I’d assume Palmer would get cut if the Raiders grab Flynn. It would be funny if we then signed Palmer as a backup but I’m getting ahead of myself.
New York Giants
#1 QB: Eli Manning
Is Flynn an upgrade? No, personally I despise Manning but there is no way for me to realistically claim Flynn is the better player
#1 QB: RGIII
Is Flynn an upgrade? Easy no.
#1 QB: Tony Romo
Is Flynn an upgrade? No. Romo is a really good quarterback who seems one of the best in the sport at attracting undeserved criticism. Thanks for that playoff win though, Tony.
#1 QB: Mike Vick
Is Flynn an upgrade? I’m going to say yes here. Vick is getting old and breaking down. He was an absolute mess last year and only demonstrated the ability to be an above average passer once, in 2010.
Green Bay Packers
#1 QB: Aaron Rodgers
Is Flynn an upgrade? Another quick no.
#1 QB: Matt Stafford
Is Flynn an upgrade? Stafford and the Lions had a nasty year in 2012 but this is a very easy no.
#1 QB: Jay Cutler
Is Flynn an upgrade? No. There are many dislikable things about Jay Cutler but he is a good player with a terrible supporting cast and has been for years. For some reason the Bears just can’t provide him with any pass protection (hands up if you think Jermaine Bushrod is the answer).
#1 QB: Christian Ponder
Is Flynn an upgrade? Maybe. This is another tough one. Despite Percy Harvin’s opinion of him Ponder is young and improving and so I don’t think I could describe Flynn as a definite upgrade.
New Orleans Saints
#1 QB: Drew Brees
Is Flynn an upgrade? No. no. no.
#1 QB: Cam Newton
Is Flynn an upgrade? Newton has some serious detractors but one would have to say no here.
#1 QB: Matt Ryan
Is Flynn an upgrade? Nope.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
#1 QB: Josh Freeman
Is Flynn an upgrade? It’s possible but Freeman still has upside remaining at 25 and if the accuracy that abandoned him last year returns he will go back to being a solid starter. Tentative no.
San Francisco 49ers
#1 QB: Colin Kaepernick
Is Flynn an upgrade? Not likely
St. Louis Rams
#1 QB: Sam Bradford
Is Flynn an upgrade? First truly bold call… Yes. Bradford turns 26 this year and has only shown marginal growth as a quarterback in his three years in the league.
#1 QB Drew Stanton
Is Flynn an upgrade? Yes. Stanton hasn’t played a great deal more than Flynn and when he has he’s been much worse. Stanton is also a year older.
People often say things like, “Player X could start for X number of teams” (they usually use real players and numbers to be fair) but they rarely back it up. This used to come up quite a bit with Maurice Morris when he was backing up Shaun Alexander. I figured I would actually take a look exactly how many teams I figure Flynn could start for, and based on this highly subjective analysis I’d say that he would be an upgrade at quarterback for eight teams. That’s a quarter of the NFL. Flynn is a real asset, and as much as it would be nice to keep him around he’s a luxury considering he could really be a starter elsewhere. I look forward to seeing what kind of return the Seahawks could get for someone who is quite clearly among the top 32 quarterbacks in the league.