While not exactly Packers news, I don’t think there are many readers of AllGreenBayPackers.com who aren’t at least a little bit interested in one Matt Flynn, who parlayed a couple solid games (including a spectacular week 17 game against Detroit) into a stepping stone to a NFL starting quarterback. Most fans were sad to see Flynn go, who might have been the best backup quarterback in the league, but with the demand for quarterbacks as high as it is in the NFL, many fans were happy with the compensatory pick that Flynn would likely net the Packers.
Fast forward a couple months, and the story is quite different; Flynn was signed to a lucrative contract, but nothing remotely close the deal many were expecting; I was the first to assume that Flynn would get something in the ball park of Kevin Kolb, another backup with lots of potential but not a lot of tape, who had received a 6-year $65 million contract, but Flynn got a 3 year, $19.5 million deal instead.
Also inexplicably, the Seahawks front office has decided the best way for Flynn to get used to his new team is to throw him into a quarterback competition with Tavaris Jackson (who realistically is first trying to make the team) and 3rd round rookie Russell Wilson (also signing Terrell Owens and Braylon Edwards makes little sense to me either). To me this means that Seattle isn’t all too confident in Flynn’s abilities, which is understandable considering Flynn played with some of the best offensive talent in the NFL and didn’t play all that much to boot (then again Seattle did pretty well with another Packers backup in a similar situation named Matt Hassellbeck).
With all this in mind, one interesting question is: Could the Packers get Flynn back? While he might not be a starter, I would say that he’s definitely capable of playing at a high enough level to cover for any Aaron Rodgers injuries and probably win a fair share of his games as well.
Here are the specifics of Flynn’s deal:
v Base: 3-year, $19.5 million total
- $10 million guaranteed (divided into three parts)
- $6 million signing bonus
- 2012 salary ($2 million total)
- $2 million of his 2013 salary ($5.25 million total)
- Additional $5 million of escalators
- Additional $2 million of “unlikely to be earned” incentives
- Yearly breakdown
- 2012: $2 million
- 2013: $5.25 million
- 2014: $6.25 million
So how much would it cost to get Flynn back with the Packers? Since the $6 million composing Flynn’s signing bonus is paid the moment he signs his contract (although technically the new CBA allows teams to divide the signing bonus evenly throughout the length of the contract, so in this case the Seahawks would pay Flynn $2 million for 3 years), the Seahawks are on the hook for $6 million regardless of what happens to Flynn. That means straight off, Flynn’s contract to the Packers is worth $19.5-$6 million = $13.5 million, which comes out to a yearly average of $4.5 million dollars a year.
Another distinction to note is that while Flynn’s 2012 salary is fully guaranteed and around 40% of his salary is guaranteed in 2013, none of Flynn’s contract is guaranteed in 2014 meaning the Packers could cut him without penalty. So really, Flynn would cost the Packers $7.25 million or $3.6 million a year over two years, which is very manageable. Maybe a little expensive for a player who hopefully will never see the field, but to give you a comparison, James Jones makes around that much and he’s anywhere from the 4th to 5th wide receiver on the roster.
So what situation would have to occur in order for Flynn to be traded back to the Packers? First, something catastrophic (like potentially career ending) would probably have to happen with Aaron Rodgers (and then maybe Graham Harrell too), in order for Ted Thompson to be willing to trade the high draft pick in order to get Flynn back (maybe throw in James Jones?). Also, Flynn would also likely have to play relatively poorly in the eyes of the Seahawks staff and get benched in favor of Russell Wilson. I would also assume it would have to be a relatively high draft choice unless Flynn falters so poorly that the Seahawks see him more as dead money.
Will this situation ever occur? I highly doubt it, while desperate Ted Thompson did pull Mark Tauscher out of retirement to play right tackle after the mess with Allen Barbre, Tauscher was a free agent and thus cost the team nothing in terms of draft compensation; most likely any advantage Flynn has in terms of familiarity with the scheme and team is offset by the cost it would take to get him back in Ted Thompson’s mind. Perhaps most importantly, Seattle would likely have to be so enamored with Russell Wilson (which reportedly they are very smitten with the diminutive quarterback) that they would be willing to cut their losses with Flynn at the tune of at least $6 million (plus what ever Flynn’s prorated yearly salary is at the time of the trade)
In my opinion, I don’t think there’s anyway that Flynn doesn’t ends up being the starting quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks for at least this year, being successful as a rookie quarterback is pretty hit or miss, but stranger things have happened. Personally, I hope to see Flynn start against his old team on September 24th when the Packers visit the Seahawks.
Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.