The Matt Flynn Question


Last night’s Monday Night Football “backup bowl” is as good as an excuse as any to talk about Seattle’s backup QB, and what his future holds with the Seahawks. Baring an injury Wilson, he’s clearly never going to become the Seahawk’s starting QB. So what should the Seahawks do with him?

Aug 30, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Flynn (15) looks for an open receiver during the 1st half against the Oakland Raiders at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-US PRESSWIRE

I believe that the Seahawks will keep him, at least for next season. There’s a couple reason why I think that:

1) Lets make one thing very clear, the Seahawks will not cut Flynn. He is guaranteed $10 million on his contract, and they will have only paid him $6.5 mil of that by the end of this season. That means that the Seahawks would have to pay him about $3.5 mil next season anyways even they cut him. That simply isn’t going to happen.

2) Contrary to the popularly reported version of Flynn’s contract, it’s not huge, at least not after 2012 is over. The truth is that a good deal of the 3 year – $26 mil contract that was reported was tied to escalator clauses that will never be met because Flynn didn’t win the starting job back in training camp. The real deal is only for $19 mil over 3 years, which is much more palatable.

While his $6.5 mil cap hit for 2013 is a lot, it’s actually not that bad when compared to other veteran backup QBs around the league. Kolb ($10.5 mil), Hasselbeck ($7.5 mil), Tebow ($4 mil), Campbell ($3.6 mil), Orton ($2.6 mil), Tyler Thigpen ($2.5 mil) and Tarvaris Jackson ($2.2 mil) are all vet backups with large salaries. Of the entire group, Flynn is probably the best player besides Hasselbeck, though Flynn is about a decade younger.

It’s also noteworthy that starter Russell Wilson will be making just $630k, so the total money committed to the position isn’t all that much compared to most teams in the NFL.

There is another option though. The Seahawks could trade Flynn, his salary, and the remaining guaranteed money to another team. The idea has merit, since the Seahawks could save some money by switching to a lesser backup QB, and pick up a draft pick in the process. Sounds like a good idea, right?

The problem with that idea is that the Seahawks would take a $4mil cap hit if they traded Flynn for the prorated remainder of his bonus money. That means that the new backup would have to cost less than $2.5 mil for this to make net gain financially for the team.

Taking a look at the vet backups around the league, staying under that number makes it very difficult to find a good backup QB. Tarvaris Jackson is probably the best of the group, but that’s a reasonable drop-off in talent for just $300k in savings. Of course there’s always Charlie Whitehurst at just $1.2 mil, but I don’t think we want to go there.

Another problem in this scenario is that the mythical team that Matt Flynn is traded to will have to be one that’s convinced he’s starting QB material. Otherwise, there is no way they’d take on the guaranteed money left on the deal. There were only 3 teams interested in Flynn this past year, and all drafted starting QB last April, meaning that none of the 3 are in the market for a starting QB anymore. Finding a trade partner who’ll want Flynn as a starter might be impossible.

Assuming that unlikely event that Flynn is traded, the other option would be to forgo the vet backup altogether and go with a rookie to backup Wilson in 2013. This is a possibility, but one I’d highly recommend not doing. The Seahawks wont be using a high draft pick on another QB anything soon. So any rookie on the team in 2013 is going to be some very flawed mega-project that wont be ready to win a football for the Seahawks if they need him to.

Put it all together, and I just don’t think there is any way that Matt Flynn is with a team other than the Seahawks in 2013.