By Brady Henderson
The Seahawks have finalized a trade with the Raiders that will send backup quarterback Matt Flynn to Oakland in exchange for a pair of draft picks – a fifth-round choice in 2014 and a conditional selection in 2015.
The Seahawks announced the move Monday, three days after multiple reports suggested a deal between Oakland and Seattle was imminent.
The holdup was believed to be the Raiders’ efforts to trade incumbent starting quarterback Carson Palmer. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Oakland is trying to complete a deal that will send Palmer to the Cardinals.
Matt Flynn’s departure puts Seattle in the market for a No. 2 quarterback. (AP)
Flynn, 27, signed a three-year, $19.5 million deal last offseason with the Seahawks, who made it clear that he would have to beat out incumbent Tarvaris Jackson for the starting job. Third-round pick Russell Wilson unexpectedly forced his way into the mix and won the three-way competition thanks to an outstanding preseason.
Jackson was traded to Buffalo and Flynn spent the season as the backup, his only three appearances coming at the end of blowout wins.
Flynn’s trade leaves Wilson as the only quarterback on the Seahawks’ roster, putting Seattle in the market for a backup either via free agency or the draft. John Clayton identified Tyler Thigpen as a likely candidate. Thigpen, 28, has played for Kansas City, Miami and Buffalo during a seven-year career. Colt McCoy has also been rumored to be an option.
“There’s different avenues we can go,” Seahawks general manager John Schneider told Colin Paisley and Tom Wassell on Monday. “Obviously, we have a plan in place and it’s contingent on who that player is. Obviously, there’s veterans that are available now, some very talented guys, actually. Some guys that are all football and that have been down that road before that Russell’s previously experienced, and then there’s also some guys in the draft we think are pretty interesting.
“We have a plan and we’re just going to take it as it comes. We’re not going to force anything and we’re not going to get in a situation where we have our hands tied.”
The trade gives the Seahawks another chance to strike gold in the fifth round, where they’ve found a Pro Bowl safety (Kam Chancellor) and an All-Pro cornerback (Richard Sherman) in recent drafts.
Flynn was scheduled to count $7.25 million against the Seahawks’ salary cap this season and $8.25 million in 2014. His trade clears $11.5 million in cap space over the next two years, savings the Seahawks can use toward a long-term deal with one of their younger players whose contract is almost up.
The team has been in talks with Chancellor on an extension. Chancellor, a fifth-round pick in 2010, is entering the final year of his rookie deal. Schneider was asked if the team wants to get a deal done with Chancellor before the season.
“Yeah, that’s a goal of ours, sure,” Schneider said.
The situation Flynn is entering in Oakland should feel somewhat familiar. Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie, like Schneider, was working in the Packers’ front office when Green Bay drafted Flynn in 2008. And McKenzie, like Schneider, isn’t handing the job to Flynn.
“Matt is a tough football player, and a talented quarterback,” McKenzie said. “He will get the opportunity to compete to be a starter with the Raiders. I believe Matt has that potential, but I also know he hasn’t had enough experience. We’re going to let him compete and battle, and see what happens.”
Parting ways with Palmer would leave Flynn and Terrelle Pryor as the only quarterbacks on the Raiders’ roster. Pryor has made one start since the Raiders selected him in the third round of the 2011 supplemental draft.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.