What Should the Packers Do With Matt Flynn?

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It was to good to last…  Now the rest of the world knows that without Aaron Rodgers, the Packers wouldn’t just have a chance, they probably wouldn’t miss a beat.  With a 480-yard, 6 touchdown performance against the Lions yesterday, which are both Packer team records, Matt Flynn has perhaps become the most sought out free agent acquisition in the upcoming offseason.

Now comes the question of what general manager Ted Thompson should do with Matt Flynn; I think it should be apparent to everyone that Flynn has no place on the Packers 2012 roster, Aaron Rodgers is “the guy”, Flynn’s far too good to be a backup and it would be salary cap and team chemistry suicide to have both Flynn and Rodgers on the roster next season.  So should Thompson let Flynn walk with his best wishes or should he use the franchise tag on Flynn and hope to get something in return?

For using the Franchise Tag

  • Quarterback is the most important position in football: There no way to hide a quarterback, either you have a star or you need one.  And there definitely aren’t 32 starting-caliber quarterbacks in the league.
  • Franchise tag numbers will be lower than previous years: With the new CBA, franchise tags will be calculated differently then they were in the past.  While under the previous CBA, tag numbers were calculated as the average top 5 salaries at the position the previous year or 120% of the player’s previous salary (which ever was highest).  The current CBA  dictates that tag numbers will now be calculated as the average of the top salary at the position over the last 5 years.  This should reduce the franchise tag numbers for a quarterback from somewhere in the $16 million mark to something around $14 million (which is reportedly how much it will cost the Saints to use the tag on Drew Brees)  Also, the first thing that teams will want to do with Flynn is restructure his deal should be arrive via franchise tag-trade (a la Matt Cassel) to a long term contract, which would significantly reduce the cap number of Flynn’s contract.
  • Lack of star college quarterbacks entering the draft:  At present, Standford quarterback Andrew Luck is probably as good as gone since the Colts have “locked up” the 1st overall pick in the 2012 draft.  Add on top of that USC quarterback Matt Barkley has decided to stay in college for another season, which leaves only one other consensus 1st round quarterback in Baylor’s Robert Griffin III.  There are definitely more than 2 teams in desperate need of a quarterback with the Colts, Redskins, Dolphins and Seahawks seriously considering drafting one while the Vikings, Browns and Cardinals could definitely decide to go in that direction as well.  Whoever fails to draft up RGIII could look to add Flynn as a consolidation prize.
  • Gives the Packers some control over where Flynn ends up: Obviously the Packers don’t want to see Flynn twice a season on the other side and the Franchise Tag would give the Packers some control over where Flynn goes.  It would seem highly unlikely that the Bears or the Lions would try to trade for Flynn considering how much they are paying Jay Cutler and Matt Stafford respectively, but the Vikings do have a propensity to sign NFC North players, and they don’t have all that much invested in Christian Ponder at the moment.

Against using the Franchise Tag

  • Only 1 Franchise Tag available per off-season: Perhaps the biggest implications with this is that there is a significant chance that Jermichael Finley could leave via free agency should Flynn get the Franchise Tag.  Finley has made it apparent that he wants to be paid as one of the top tight ends in the league, but hasn’t warranted such a contract with his production this season.  Finley has also been quoted in saying that he wouldn’t mind being placed on the franchise tag this offseason, which to me signifies that he realizes that his value has dipped due to his lack of production this year and he’s willing to bet that giving a discount this year will result in a bigger contract next year (when theoretically he gets out of whatever slump he’s in)  I’m not entirely convinced that Finley would take a long term deal that isn’t one of the top 5 contracts for tight ends at the end of the season.
  • Lack of potential suitors: Should the Packers find no suitors for Flynn, they would have on their hands a huge quarterback controversy, where the backup is making more money than the starter (who also happens to be the reigning Super Bowl MVP and likely MVP this year).  Matt Cassel and outside linebacker Mike Vrabel managed to net the Patriots a high 2nd pick and Flynn doesn’t have the entire season on his resume.  Assuming that teams are willing to trade a mid 2nd round or 3rd rounder, is it worth the risk?
  • Sign of disrespect: I’m not sure Flynn would see this as a “slap in the face” as some other players see it who are given the franchise tag considering it would only be to get something in return for Flynn’s services, but some players don’t like the fact that the teams are “cheating” them out of a long term contract.  With franchise tags lower than they were before, it is possible that teams could take advantage of that by keeping Flynn on his tag numbers and giving him a trial season.  Naturally, if Flynn were an unrestricted free agent he would sign a long term contract, which in the end would probably net him more money.  Also, if Flynn gets traded to somewhere where he’s rather not be (like heaven forbid in Oakland or in Cincinnati) he may not be a happy camper.
  • Aaron Rodger’s pay raise: At some point the Packers are going to have to up Rodger’s contract, especially after the kind of season he had this year.  Rodgers could potentially use Flynn’s franchise tag numbers as a point of comparison, especially considering it wouldn’t be unreasonable to make him the highest paid player in the NFL right now.  Thompson is notorious for being a penny pincher, and if Rodger’s side knows that Thompson was willing to make a $14 million commitment to Flynn, then Rodgers knows he could get way more than that.  I’m not convinced that Rodger’s is that kind of person or that Thompson would really try to skimp on the quarterback position, but economically it is an added point of contention.

I’ve tried to be as unbiased about it as possible, but what do you think?  What should the Packers do with Matt Flynn?




Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.


45 thoughts on “What Should the Packers Do With Matt Flynn?

    1. I think you try to find a suitor before free agency starts and if you have an agreement then you franchise him. If not, then I’m not sure its worth the risk, as people have mentioned you will be getting a compensatory pick out of him if he leaves, which could be as high as a 3rd round draft pick

  1. Interesting quandary for TT. I hope that he channels his inner Ron Wolf and comes up with a deal strategy for Flynn and Finley.

    I recall that Matt Hasselbeck for Ahman Green worked out pretty well. Let’s hope history repeats itself. Flynn is certainly justified in his desire to be a starter and get paid like one, but I hope that he and his agent frame his future desires within the context of a 7th rounder that has benefited from his development in the Packers QB machine.

    A QB > TE, and in trade value Flynn tops Finley. I do not envy what TT has on his plate ahead of him, but have high hopes and confidence that he will once again emulate his mentor.

    1. Actually Ahman Green and Matt Hasselbeck were not traded for each other; Green plus a 5th rounder were traded for Fred Vinson and a 6th rounder in 2000, while Hasselbeck plus a 7th rounder was traded to swap 1st round picks with Seattle plus a 3rd rounder in 2001. I’m not sure that using the 7th round card is really going to work on the second contract either, presumably 1st round draft busts aren’t trying to get premium money based on their draft status, and Flynn has definitely been better than your average 7th rounder. I would however look out for Cleveland, Holmgren is now the GM and Holmgren and Green Bay have always had a good relationship and they aren’t completely convinced with Colt McCoy

  2. Unfortunately, it Sounds like Flynn will walk away with the Packers getting nothing for him. You did a good job explaining all the options and it seems to me that TT will want to keep Rodgers happy and F tag Finley. I know Finley had his problems this year, but he still adds an element to this offense that makes it more potent.

    On another note, yesterdays game was so fun to watch, but once again the D was somewhat concerning. I kept telling my self that with out thier two best players,CM and CW , the D would be at a huge disadvantage, and of course they were. But the fact that they gave up 42 pts, 575 yards and 5 passing TDs at home to a Dome team was little dis-heartening. Did 2 players really mean that much? This D has been giving up huge chunks of yards all year, but 575 yards and 42 pts is at a whole new level of bad.

    That was the Lions O, I can’t imagine what NO’s O would have done to this D.

    1. The Packers will get at least a compensatory pick with Flynn, more if they can manage to trade him. I’d also think that they will try to come to terms with Finley for a decent price, and if that does happen, then they could keep Finley and use the tag on Flynn. Also, since NO and DET play each other in the wild card, one has to get knocked off and in my opinion teams that can keep pace with the Packers in terms of points are going to be the most dangerous.

  3. I still think that our DBs playing 10 yards off the WRs is causing problems. Megatron getting well 244 yards was terrible and the TE adding another 135 was bad.

    On a brighter note, the O-line was masterful yesterday against a very good D-line, (that’s two weeks in a row).That’s nice to see heading into the playoffs. Our O is un-stopable.

    1. I noticed that as well, and for sure that was intentional. I’m not sure what the reasoning for it was, but you don’t give Megatron such a huge cushion and do nothing about it the entire game when he burns you. Add to that Williams is at his best when he’s at the line and I’m positive that Capers is up to something, what I’m not sure.

    1. The coolest thing was that when you waw Rodgers on the sideline, you could tell he was genuinely happy and excited for Flynn. No BF evil eye glaring at him.

      1. Does anyone know how Brett Favre reacted when Hasselbeck was traded? There is a difference in the sense that Flynn was picked up to back up Rodgers not replace Favre like when Rodgers was picked

  4. I think they say thank you and let him walk and take the comp pick.

    Tag and trade just has too many negatives attached for me..

    1. It’s definitely a risk, and with any other position I would probably not risk it unless I already have a trading partner. But quarterbacks are such a precious commodity that I think it’s still a relatively safe bet. Also Flynn would be a player that you build a team around, not like another piece like WRs or RBs, so he would really transcend scheme, which makes him more of a commodity.

      1. I remember giving up a 1st for Favre, who, IMO, had done way less than Flynn has done. And look at what Oakland paid for a washed-up Palmer. And don’t even get me started on John Hadl. I don’t think it is unreasonable to think we could get at least a 1st for Flynn, and I’d take that in a heartbeat.

  5. Flynn is gone. But the Packers could possibly get a 3rd round pick for him…which is probably what he is REALLY worth. To Franchise him and lose another player that will actually BE ON THE FIELD for the Packers is too risky. A sign and trade deal that the Packers did with Corey Williams would be the way to go, but that was a rare situation. The Packers will get a 3rd round Comp. Pick and should smile all the way to the bank. Flynn is good, but he deserves the right to test the market now. He’ll get paid BIG by somebody….too bad Al Davis isn’t alive, cause he probably would have made Flynn the highest paid QB in the league.

  6. I found it humorous of how mentally weak the Lions were…and it starts with their punk of a coach…Schwartz. Hey Schwartz, I agree, it was a TD….but because your team wasn’t tough with the ball early on, and you used your challenges…that’s the way the cookie crumbles. IT’S THE RULES OF THE GAME MORON….SO QUIT DROPPING F-BOMBS AND JUMPING AROUND LIKE AN IDIOT….ACCEPT IT.
    There’s a reason Suh is a moron and did the belt after his sack vs. FLYNN….and why they get their penalties, and why Stafford was shouting F-Bombs at our players after his last TD. No leadership on a young team. They won’t recover from this loss….THEY’RE DONE.

    1. I think the biggest concern is how the team is going to react if they aren’t as good in the future (especially now that they have tasted sucess); puffing your chest and being “fiery” work well when you are winning, but players are going to stop listening real quick when you’re losing. Even Rex Ryan has figured that his bravado is going to tank his leadership sooner or later and he’s toned it down recently.

  7. Dear Dan,

    Although our secondary could have made more plays, I don’t look at them as the problem. The Packers’ lack of pass rush is killing them. Not one player has stepped up to give us ANYTHING close to a consistent push. Hopefully, fresh legs for CM3 will help, and maybe even for Raji and Neal….but the pocket is clean, and in the NFL that spells big yardage down field. We need to find a blitz package that works and get more hits on the QB…Stafford was clean almost all day.

  8. its way too tough to say at this point i have always had faith in tt and i know any choice he makes will get alot of press good and bad for whatever he may decide. other teams that may need a qb were watching that preformace yesterday closely. to me its no question really talented quarterbacks are not easy to find. and as for JF we could win the superbowl last year with out him and his preformance this year hasnt been as good as expected. there are a few other tight ends on the roster that could easily do what he did this season. its as simple as play well and get payed well. and what about james jones i isnt he on a contract year aswell

    1. I would argue that outside of Aaron Rodgers, the Packers could win a Super Bowl without any other player, as the depth is just that good. James Jones signed a 3 year deal during last offseason, so he’s presumably not in the mix for a new contract.

  9. Franchising a backup QB and having to pay him that much money would be crazy, especially with Rodgers needing a new deal on the horizon. Only possible way would be if they know they have a drop-jaw deal in place with another team. Otherwise, he goes and the packers will take the compensation draft pick.

    1. I agree, but I think the Packers would take a 2nd rounder if someone was willing to trade that, or even swapping 1st plus Flynn considering Thompson will be dealing with a late pick anyways.

  10. I don’t think you even entertain tagging Flynn in hopes of finding a deal. Alot of prospective teams might be more comfortable acquiring a new starting QB for cash on the FA market instead of using draft capital and trading away multiple high picks. All they need is more than one team in the bidding and the salary offers should be high for a starting calibur QB.

    The Packers have to be as thrilled as Flynn with his performance and how that impacts his comp value for 2013. Among other pending UFA’s I think Wells, Grant, and Bush all have raised their stock this year while H Green, P Lee, and Walden have flatlined. None of the UFA’s appear to be at the end of their career so any not re-signed will count for something.

    Finley?? tag him if at TE position rate ..

    * also noticed Jenkins named Pro Bowl alternate which should firm up his value for 2012 comp.

    1. Getting a starting quarterback in free agency is harder than it sounds after there is a reason they’re free agents. Below are the potential free agent quarterbacks that will be available on the market.

      Drew Brees: Forget about it, the Saints will tag him before he goes anywhere

      Kyle Orton: Flynn has more upside and is younger

      Alex Smith: After this season I wouldn’t be surprised to see Smith stay in SF and of course Flynn is younger

      Jason Campbell: Coming off IR and I’d still say that Flynn has more upside and is younger.

      Donovan McNabb: Really?

  11. It is obvious to me that AR was on the bench yesterday to give Flynn a chance to highlight his talents. It was a favor that MM granted as a reward for loyal service. It would have been great if they could have traded Matt, but that just couldn’t be workeded out. They’ll have to be satisfied with what ever comp. pick they get.

    So, good luck in the future Matt. I’ll be a fan as long as you’re not playing the Pack.

    Of course, there’s one more potential solution that I will not mention, directly (I’m superstitous). It has something to do with AR’s long-term availabiulity. Enough said!

    1. Another way you could look at it would be that Thompson was showcasing Flynn in hopes of getting some interest (which worked) or just resting Rodgers and keeping him out of danger (which also worked)

  12. As a Seahawk fan I must first say great story and comments. GB has a great fanbase and it shows on this thread. It is great seeing what the fans who know him best think about Flynn. That being said, I WANT HIM IN SEATTLE. First rounder isn’t going to happen so lets talk about a 2nd round swap and a third round pick. Heck with Paul Allen as an owner we can buy several thousand “shares” of the team as well. Would you perfer cash or credit?

    1. He’d be a good fit. Tavaris is just alway going to be erratic. Flynn is a caoches dream.

    2. I’d think that’s a very reasonable offer, I’m not convinced that anyone would give a 1st for Flynn, but either a 2nd or swapping seconds plus another pick would probably be more reasonable.

  13. Trade Rodgers to 49s for 2 first round picks and 2 defensive starters and keep Flynnn. Rodgers goes home with 2 rings to his boyhood team. We keep Flynn since everybody is happy with Flynn and we plug up defensive holes for more runs after the Ring. Win Win for everyone. Threw it out there just for…..

    1. Ironically, you may have a point, SF might be the only place that Rodgers would approve of a trade. But it will never happen, no teams lets a star quarterback go without extenuating circumstances, and Flynn’s performance isn’t one. Even with Flynn’s outstanding performance last game, there’s no question Rodgers is the better quarterback. Rodgers has much better throwing velocity and better decision making skills and command of the huddle; really I think that Flynn is Rodgers-lite in the way he plays. Put it another way, what are the chances that Rodgers throws for 480 yards and 6 touchdowns? He has that capability every game. What are the chances that Flynn has another game like last week? I’d wager that was his career game.

  14. To me, it’s not what the Packers should do with Flynn now; it’s what they should have done at the beginning of the season. I argued they should have traded him for a high draft pick – #1 or #2 – based on my thought that they could not win a Super Bowl with Flynn at QB. In other words, if Rodgers went down with a season-ending injury, they could not the Super Bowl anyway.

    The problem is there was too little game tape on Flynn for GMs to make a decision on what he was worth. So, maybe Thompson didn’t get offers for #1 picks – we will probably never know.

    I don’t think there’s any way the Packers franchise Flynn. I think we just have to look at it as the cost of an insurance policy in the case that Rodgers went down. Some team is gonna be really happy with Flynn next year.

    And, the Pack will get a 3rd round compensatory pick most likely.

    1. A nice thought, but completely unrealistic they would have gotten anything better than a 3rd round pick for Flynn before this season. As you hinted at, one games’ worth of tape would not be nearly enough for an NFL team to give up that high of a pick. Packers did what they had to do – keep Flynn for one more year and then let him go. They did him a huge favor giving him that showcase lastweek, but of course, it was up to Flynn to play well – and boy did he ever!

    2. Kolb didn’t play much and the Eagles got value for him. Flynn is easily worth a 1st round pick and I hope Thompson holds out to get that much.

      1. I wouldn’t use the Kolb trade as a barometer since the situation is pretty different, the Cardinals were screwed by the lockout and Kolb was not a free agent. Even with those considerations in mind, the consensus immediately afterwards was that it was a bad deal for the Cardinals. I’d be willing to bet that teams are going to bet they can sign Flynn when he hits the free market, so any trade would be a mid round draft choice, unless Washington or the like decides to overpay

    3. I wouldn’t be surprised if Thompson and Flynn’s agent were on the phones seeing if they could work out a trade during the preseason, but nothing came from it. The other problem is that there isn’t any way to get more tape out of Flynn without sitting Rodgers in the process, and you simply do not undermine your star quarterback for any reason, period. So Flynn got stuck with mop up-duty, fill in for injury and got lucky that last week when the game didn’t meaning anything in terms of the playoffs. To put it another way, be thankful that Flynn didn’t have much of an opportunity to showcase himself cause that means Rodgers was under center

  15. There’s no way you waste a franchise tag on Flynn when you can use it on Finley. Finley does a lot more than his statistical numbers show. If he’s not getting catches he’s getting double teamed and thats what free’s up everyone else. If you notice Finley gets most of his catches in the first quarter….then teams switch to double teaming him and that’s when Jennings, Nelson and co benefit. The Bears didn’t double team him in Chicago all game at Soldier Field and he had 3 TDs.

    1. I would argue that the current price of a Franchise Tag on a TE is much more equitable than that of a QB, predicted somewhere in the $4-5 million mark; though ironically that might induce Finley to sign a long term contract since any contract with the Packers is likely to have more guaranteed than $4-5 million.

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