Why Haven’t The Packers Resigned Matt Flynn?

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Matt Flynn

In case anyone forgot, the 2013 Packers will always be remembered as the “oh shit, Aaron Rodgers got hurt” season.  After Rodgers broke his clavicle against the Bears, it became quite apparent that the Packers front office had been unusually caught with its collective pants off by having no viable backup to keep the team afloat.  This all started in training camp and the preseason as the Packers cut incumbent backup quarterbacks Graham Harrell and BJ Coleman, leaving former 1st round pick and overall bust Vince Young as the presumed backup, only to release him at the 53 man cut deadline.  After all that, the Packers front office signed Seneca Wallace and Scott Tolzien to actually backup the season.  Obviously the football gods didn’t look favorably to all this as Seneca Wallace got hurt almost immediately into his first start for the Packers and left an unproven and inexperienced Scott Tolzien to start for the Packers against the Giants and part of the Vikings game.  It was only when the Packers got to “plan F” did they get really desperate and call back old buddy Matt Flynn, who took over halfway into the Vikings game, managed to scrape a couple of tight wins against the Falcons and the Cowboys and managed to do just enough to keep the team afloat until Rodgers came back to play the Bears in the season finale with playoff hopes on the line.

This story is something that the Packers can ill afford to repeat; in all honestly the Packers did not get into the playoffs last year, the Bears and Lions were just even less deserving of a playoff berth.  So the question really becomes, why are the Packers repeating 2013 by not resigned Matt Flynn and what reason could they possibly have?

Matt Flynn would not be an expensive backup, after bombing out in Seattle, Oakland and Buffalo, its pretty apparent that the only team that has any value for Flynn is the Packers, and thus his asking price would be low due to no competition for his services.  There has been no news of Matt Flynn taking any visits with any other teams and no rumors that any other team is even interested.  Furthermore, Flynn missed out on the free agent signing rush, where some backup quarterbacks commanded as much as a $5 million average over 2-3 years.  As such, the best Flynn will likely see is a 1 year veteran minimum, which for a player with 6 years of experience means $730,000.

Another possibility is to draft a rookie quarterback, but even with more rookie quarterbacks seeing more and more success right from the beginning, this should still be considered the exception rather than the norm.  This is compounded when looking at mid to late round rookies, which is where the Packers will likely be drafting one (as they will with only two quarterbacks currently on the roster).  Arguably the Packers gotten lucky all these years because Rodgers has been relatively durable, but even Matt Flynn likely would have sank the team had he had to start as a rookie in 2008.  Furthermore, having a backup like Flynn doesn’t hurt the development of a younger quarterback as the difference between the backup and 3rd string quarterback for practice reps is nothing like that of the starter and his backups.  Ideally a rookie quarterback would be competing with Scott Tolzien for a practice squad spot and not to be the backup for Aaron Rodgers.

The last possibility is signing another veteran free agent quarterback.  Arguably this is probably the worst case scenario since you get all the issues of a veteran free agent quarterback while none of the benefits such as experience with the system or rapport with the offense.  One of the rumored reasons that Flynn was passed over so many times by the Packers during the last offseason was a balky elbow.  However, Flynn has never been the type of quarterback who stretches the field and makes the stick throw nor would he be really asked to play that way as a backup.  Ideally, you want a backup who can get everyone lined up right, make the right calls and then not screw the play up.  In that sense, Flynn is the ideal backup since he already knows the system and proved last year that his arm is still good enough to keep the Packers afloat.

A team without a star quarterback is one doomed to fail.  Also true is that there are only so many people on this planet that can play quarterback at a high level in the NFL and the Packers are lucky to have one in Aaron Rodgers, and expecting for the “next Aaron Rodgers” to be waiting in the wings like he was with Brett Favre is unrealistic. What the Packers really need is a quarterback who can keep the team afloat, minimize mistakes and let the playmakers already on the team be as productive as they can.  This quarterback doesn’t need to have a rocket arm or fast legs.  Scott Tolzien isn’t that kind of quarterback nor was Vince Young.  Matt Flynn is that type of quarterback and there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be on the Packers roster right now.  Should the Packers sign Flynn and then draft a quarterback who outperforms him in the offseason, then they can release Flynn without penalty.  If Flynn’s elbow becomes too serious an issue, the Packers can release him without penalty.  If another free agent quarterback becomes available who would be better than Flynn, the Packers can release him without penalty.  But if none of these things happen, then Flynn is the best player to keep the Packers afloat should 2013 repeat itself.


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


53 thoughts on “Why Haven’t The Packers Resigned Matt Flynn?

  1. Flynn offered very little last year against some opponents with very weak defenses. MM has a terrible track record when it comes to evaluating talent. I’d much rather see Tolzein given a chance and draft a QB in the lower rounds. This QB class has decent depth. I will say this for Flynn, his wife is a ten.

    1. The only game Flynn played in that he wasn’t effective was against Detroit. The Packers got screwed against Pittsburgh and the League admitted the officials screwed it up. Flynn doesn’t have the strongest arm and he has his limitations, but he plays well in the Packers system, gives them a chance to win, and won’t cost a fortune. What more could could the fans ask for?

      1. Apparently, the fans don’t want the guy that came in and helped us make the playoffs. The guy that pulled out some tough victories under some tough circumstances. But, they do want the guy that didn’t win and has a lot of learning to do.

        We need 3 QB’s on the roster in some capacity. Flynn is the perfect backup, until another guy proves that he can do the job. Going into this season with Tolzien as the man will put us in last year’s boat. Wait, maybe Seneca Wallace is available.

        1. Yeah it baffles me how easily fans have forgotten that before Flynn began his 4th quarter heroics against the Vikings, GB was on the pace to go 0-4 under Seneca, and Tolzien. Without Flynn, this team would probably went 5-11 or 6-10 last year.

    2. NOBODY has played in McCarthy’s system and had better success than Flynn, excepting two guys named Favre and Rodgers. C’MON MAN, Flynn was a good defensive stand away from winning the Vikings TIE, and should’ve had the “W” in the Steelers game. The ONLY game the Packers were flat beaten was the Lions’ Turkey Day game and McCarthy bears the most blame for not having Flynn ready for the no-huddle which was so effective in bringing Packers back from 16 points down to Vikings to tie and beating the Falcons and Cowboys. McCarthy allowed the Lions to substitute defenders, never gave his offense time to get into rhythm by using the no-huddle to keep Lions off balance or tire them out. That was the only game Packers were outclassed in with Flynn at QB. Face it, Packers were IN with Flynn, he saved a playoff opportunity after GB had lost 3 consecutive games by keeping them competitive till Rodgers was able to play.

  2. You seem to be forgetting that even training camp doesn’t start for a couple months, let alone any games. If, as you say, no other team has interest in Flynn, then nothing to worry about.

    1. This is true, but if Flynn’s value can’t get any lower and there’s no penalty for signing him today and cutting him, why wait? The Packers aren’t desperate for the roster spot with the 90 man limit in the offseason. It might even be beneficial where Flynn can meet with the Packers medical staff and trainers and try to see where the elbow really is.

      1. More than likely Flynn is waiting to see what happens in the offseason. For all we know he wants to see if starting QB gets hurt before training camp so he has a chance to start this year. That would also give him leverage w the Packers and more money!

        Why do you assume its the Packers dragging their feet?! Think about it from BOTH sides. Might give your article more credibility.

        1. I don’t think any other team is considering him anything more than a lower-tier backup at this point, so Flynn dragging his feet and waiting for a bigger contract is risky. Plus if Flynn actually did get the chance to start, it’s likely only going to ruin his reputation more in the long run. I’d argue that even if the Packers gave him a $2-3 million deal with a little guaranteed this would have the same effect; it allows the Packers to have a viable backup in case no other options become available while giving them the freedom to cut Flynn without much financial penalty. Even if the Packers were in a tight salary cap situation, this would still be worth it in my opinion.

          1. Well don’t you think he WANTS another chance to start? I’m guessing he absolutely does. Athletes are ultra confident in themselves and abilities! What harm is there for him to tell the Packers he wants to see if another opportunity presents itself? He could have them on hold till training camp and still be the front runner to backup Rodgers. I’m very sure he and his agent have discussed this w Thompson and McCarthy.

      2. BTW I don’t think Tolzien is eligible for a PS spot any longer. So its either he OR Flynn not both since I doubt the Packers carry 3 QBs on the roster.

        1. I’m not talking about the regular season, I’m talking about the offseason/preseason. The Packers will have to make a decision at that point, but wouldn’t you rather have it be Flynn vs. Tolzien vs. Tolzien and some mid to late round rookie?

          1. What incentives does Flynn have to sign now? He could sign the day of training camp and still be the front runner to backup Rodgers. Surely he and his agent have discussed this w Thompson and McCarthy.

  3. Another fan friend describes Flynn as ”
    Noodle-armed”. He underthrew consistently outside the red zone and overthrew receivers inside the red zone.
    Maybe if he hits the weight room he might be worth keeping; otherwise, MM should seriously be working with Tolzien.

    1. Flynn is 28 and a quarterback so I don’t think hitting the weight room will do much to improve his performance. I’m not saying that McCarthy shouldn’t be trying to coach Tolzien into a viable backup quarterback, I’m saying there’s no reason not to have Flynn right now as a backup. If Tolzien beats out Flynn in the preseason, then let him loose (it won’t cost the Packers anything)

  4. I am eager to see what Tolzien has to offer. Remember, he was brought in at the end of training camp (or right before opener with 9ers) and therefore had no practice reps to work with. He has a stronger arm and has shown to be accurate, and once he has taken more reps will provide a better backup option than Flynn.

    1. I get what you’re saying, buddy, but personally I hope that I NEVER see what Tolzien has to offer. Any team can pick up guys like him off the street.

    2. I saw some good things from Tolzien last year, but I saw more bad things. Furthermore you can’t ignore the fact that Harbaugh, a former QB, had him for 2 years and then let him go. What didn’t we see, maybe a lack of improvement?

    3. Again I’m not arguing Flynn or Tolzien, I’m arguing that the Packers can have both with basically no downside so why not? If Tolzien has a fantastic offseason and is better than Flynn, then they should cut Flynn. But if that doesn’t happen, why not have Flynn on the roster?

  5. In my opinion, many Packer fans have an overly high opinion of Flynn. But the Packers haven’t signed him because…

    1) It’s only March
    2) He isn’t very good
    3) Better options may become available, and
    4) Nobody else seems to want him, so why rush?

    I didn’t get a lot of support a few days ago when I suggested that Mark Sanchez might be a better option than Flynn. But personally, I think that he is.

    1. Sanchez is a turnover machine. Flynn ranked in the top ten for throwing accuracy and also throwing accuracy under pressure.

    2. I’ll add a 5th potential reason: The market hasn’t set Flynn’s price point yet.

      Chad Henne signed with Jax for 4 million a year. Kellen Clemens signed with St. Louis for 1.5. Flynn seems like he would fit somewhere between those guys, but where, exactly?

      Remember that in the end it isn’t just about what the Packers offer, but also about what Flynn wants to sign and play for. If Flynn has been smart with his money from the last two years, his other options may include not playing football.

      1. I’d argue that at this point, his value has hit rock bottom cause he missed out of the free agent signing rush. At this point, Flynn is likely hoping that a team fails to draft a quarterback or for an injury during training camp. Either way, I don’t think he’ll have a better shot to stick on a roster than in Green Bay and he likely knows it.

    3. 1) It’s only march but there’s no benefit in waiting any longer, Flynn’s price will not get any lower because he’s already looking at the veteran minimum.
      2)He’s not going to be the best backup quarterback in the NFL by any means but I would argue he was better last year than any other quarterback the Packers trotted out save Rodgers.
      3)Also true, but what if no one better becomes available? You might as well have Flynn on deck and if a better option comes along cut him (again there will be no penalty for cutting him)
      4)You never know, hell Kenny Britt is attracting interest around the league and there’s basically no downside to signing him.

      I have no idea about Sanchez, my feeling is always that he’s better than he was these last couple years but not as good as he was portrayed early in his career. He also might be so shell shocked from the circus that is the Jets to really recover and become a viable QB in the NFL

      1. Any signing bonus is guaranteed, so there IS a downside to signing someone now. Granted, Flynn’s signing bonus wouldn’t be huge, but still, if they ended up cutting him they would have to eat the bonus and get nothing in return.

  6. I think that TT and MM are just keeping their options with players like Kuhn and Flynn. Yes, they could re-sign them now but if they know that there is no interest from other teams, why not wait until after the draft and after they know how much they will need to sign their rookies. Then evaluate the teams remaining needs and re-sign guys like Flynn at the minimum. I would prefer that they re-sign Flynn rather than go into the season with Tolzien and a rookie. To me, their best approach will be to re-sign Flynn, draft a QB in mid to late rounds and bring Tolzien to camp and see where it goes from there. Either Flynn and Tolzien will emerge as the backups or Flynn and a rookie. But maybe TT and MM have other ideas. We’ll see. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

    1. Good point Since ’61.

      I’ll add that guys like Josh Freeman are still available, too. Not that I particularly want Freeman, but the thought that he **might** be ‘better’ than Flynn ought to at least be **explored** by TT and his scouts. (I’d have put Sanchez in there, but he has signed in Philly.)

      1. I don’t think Sanchez is signed, at least not yet. But you make the same point… there are other guys out there.

      2. While I don’t agree with you on Sanchez or Freeman, I don’t see why that should stop the Packers from signing Flynn. Say for instance Flynn is signed and then Sanchez suddenly wants to become a Packer. The Packers could easily sign Sanchez and release Flynn without penalty. But in the case that neither Sanchez or Freeman want to play in Green Bay or aren’t willing to play in Green Bay for a low contract, then having Flynn as a backup plan makes sense.

    2. I agree with you that the market for Flynn is cold, but from the Packers perspective there’s also no reason not to sign him since you don’t have to guarantee any of his contract. So in essence it’s like having Flynn for free (or basically free if he actually gets far into training camp). If Tolzien or some other QB outperforms him, then they can just release him and move on.

  7. Flynn, at present would be the right choice. He’d come at a reasonable price (he’s already got a load of Seattle’s money), he knows the system (and maybe his top 3 receivers) as well as A-Rod, and he knows he wouldn’t be challenging for playing time, he’s the perfect back-up! Does the name Zeke Bratkowski ring any bells?

    1. Zeke was a reliable backup who was always ready to play. He played very well for the Packers, especially in the ’65 playoff game against the Colts when Starr was knocked out of the game during the Packers first series. Sound familiar? GB won in sudden death OT 13-10. The Packers forced OT with a game tying FG which is still disputed by Colts’ fans to this day. The mist, fog and “short” goal posts made it difficult to see but the refs called it good and the game went to OT. As a result we have the longer goalposts that exist today and the Packers went on the defeat the Browns in the ’65 NFL Championship game 23-12. The beginning of the 3 in a row NFL titles ending with the Ice Bowl. If that FG is ruled No Good there is probably no 3 in a row and maybe the Lombardi trophy bears a different name. Zeke was a big part of it all. Thanks, Since ’61

  8. Why bother signing Flynn and using up a roster space? The Pack probably has his cell phone number and if they need him he’s just a call away.

    1. Because the roster limit at the moment is at 90 and the Packers are likely to use one or two roster spots on a very raw and inexperienced undrafted QB (they do this every year), who almost always get cut right after the draft. Would you rather have Flynn or Orwin Smith on the roster? Who do you think has a better chance of actually contributing to the team?

      1. My point is just that I don’t think Flynn is going anywhere so why pay him unless/until you need him?

        1. Cause you wouldn’t be paying him really anyways. If Flynn is going to be signing a veteran minimum (which is highly likely), then none of the contract is guaranteed so you’d only be paying him for participating in training camp, OTAs etc (which is basically nothing). The Packers could cut him basically at any time without penalty so money really isn’t a factor.

  9. I just hope TT and MM learned a lesson from last year regarding the backup QB position. A quality backup needs to be in place prior to training camp. I’m OK with Flynn, unless there is better out there

    1. I think this is the right mentality. Flynn is good enough to deserve a 90 man roster spot and basically will cost the Packers nothing and if someone better comes along, then release him.

  10. Yea, there is no reason to sign Flynn right this minute. If there is as little demand for him as you say, then he will still be available months from now. Maybe TT will find a QB he really likes in the draft. Flynn can still be that in-case-of-emergency guy if we find out in training camp that the backup qb’s aren’t cutting it. He doesn’t exactly need much prep time. No reason to tie up a roster spot right now & put $$ on the cap before you have to.

  11. We have a pretty good situation with Flynn back in the fold, Tolzien learning the system and maybe a project to work on the PS. Why are guys even talking about Sanchez or Freeman? These guys are what – cheaper, winners, better team guys? I must be missing something.

    1. There aren’t many decent QBs on the free agent market now that most of the bigger names have been signed. There will likely be someone that is released maybe after the draft or during the preseason, but the Packers could easily sign this other player and cut Flynn if this event unfolds.

  12. Tolzien will have a much better grasp of the offense and will have the job. He has a better arm ,is more mobile, and will be cheaper.His competition will come from a rookie. We all know that Ted will definitely draft a QB.

  13. Tolzien will have a much better grasp of the offense and will have the job. He has a better arm ,is more mobile, and will be cheaper.His competition will come from a rookie. We all know that Ted will definitely draft a QB.

  14. I think in my heart of hearts that signing Flynn would be a good decision.They can release him should we draft a QB that could learn the system in a year or so.I don’t believe that Tolzien has made it to that level yet.I am however impressed with his play when he has got into the game.The real issue here is whether the “O” line can give Aaron enough time and not risk another injury like that of this past season.Flynn knows the system and is comfortable with it.I say, sign him to the $750,00 while he’s available and wait and see who’s left in the draft.

  15. I agree with SINCE 61’S logic. Flynn offers us the best option to come off the bench & play. He knows the system, gets along with A-rod, & has won in this league. Somebody could pickup Flynn, but he’s already been dumped by 3 teams, he fits in at GB better than anywhere else. Sanchez went to Philly & probably wants to start at his age. I think Flynn is a Kellen Clemens type ability wise & probably market wise on price. Sign him & lets move on. I don’t think screwing a guy on salary makes any sense, that’s a negative motivator,

  16. I don’t see the logic of signing a guy cut by the Raiders last year who was a street free agent until the Packers picked him up in desperation last year. Despite his “heroics” to get us a shot at the playoffs,(mostly due to the other division teams failing to win a game or two) he is nothing we can’t replace. I’d love for TT to sign an eventual replacement for Rodgers in the mold of Nick Foles. Not just a back-up, but an eventual starter potential. After last year I hope they learned the value of a REAL back-up, and how much value they have. The QB back-up committee last year was an absolute joke by a “contending” team.

  17. I don’t see the logic of signing a guy cut by the Raiders last year who was a street free agent until the Packers picked him up in desperation last year. Despite his “heroics” to get us a shot at the playoffs,(mostly due to the other division teams failing to win a game or two) he is nothing we can’t replace. I’d love for TT to sign an eventual replacement for Rodgers in the mold of Nick Foles. Not just a back-up, but an eventual starter potential. After last year I hope they learned the value of a REAL back-up, and how much value they have. The QB back-up committee last year was an absolute joke by a “contending” team.

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