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.