By Brady Henderson
The Seahawks insisted all along they wouldn’t trade Matt Flynn unless the right offer came along.
It apparently has.
A deal between the Seahawks and Raiders that will send Seattle’s backup quarterback to Oakland in exchange for draft-pick compensation is reportedly all but official. No announcement has been made, but multiple reports say the deal is close.
Trading Matt Flynn would give Seattle additional draft picks and cap space. (AP)
The ball appears to be in Oakland’s court. According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the Raiders are making one last attempt to trade incumbent starter Carson Palmer or convince him to take a pay cut before releasing him.
“Assuming Palmer stays consistent with what he’s been saying, which is that he does not want to take any sort of pay cut, the belief is that they will release Palmer and give the green light on the trade of Matt Flynn,” Rapoport told 710 ESPN Seattle Friday afternoon.
It’s not known what draft picks the Seahawks would receive in return should the trade go through. The Raiders have only seven selections in this year’s draft – none in the second or fifth rounds – so the package they send to Seattle could include a 2014 pick.
The other question is what the Seahawks will do to replace Flynn as starter Russell Wilson would be the only quarterback on their roster following the trade. Trading Flynn would clear up $3.25 million in cap space, some of which Seattle could use toward a veteran No. 2. Tyler Thigpen and Colt McCoy have each been mentioned as possibilities.
Oakland wasn’t considered a likely trade partner until earlier this week. No team was, in fact, as the trade market for Flynn had seemed weak until a report from Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com on Tuesday said the Raiders, Jaguars and Bills had all talked to the Seahawks about a deal.
The Raiders’ pending acquisition of Flynn comes as the team attempts to reduce Palmer’s $13 million salary for the upcoming season. Palmer, according to reports, has no intention of agreeing to a pay cut. If their impasse results in Palmer’s release, Terrelle Pryor would be the only quarterback on Oakland’s roster.
That would give Flynn an inside track at the starting job, something he appeared to have when he signed a three-year, $19.5 million deal with Seattle last offseason after spending his first four NFL seasons as a backup in Green Bay.
Coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider insisted at the time that Flynn would have to beat out incumbent Tarvaris Jackson for the starting job, but Wilson, a rookie third-round pick, forced his way into the competition and emerged the winner during the preseason. Wilson then took the NFL by storm while leading Seattle to an 11-5 regular-season record and a road playoff win, the team’s first in 29 years.
Outside of the preseason, Flynn didn’t see the field until the final month of the regular season, his only three appearances coming late in blowout wins over Arizona, Buffalo and San Francisco.
While Wilson’s emergence made Flynn expendable, the Seahawks were still content to keep him around, even though that would mean paying $5.25 million in base salary to a backup. The Seahawks said they would listen to offers but insisted that Flynn’s contract was in no way prohibitive.
“We’ve structured ourselves in a salary-cap manner where we’re in a very good position with him,” Schneider said of Flynn during an interview with 710 ESPN Seattle in January. Schneider added: “Having two quarterbacks like that’s pretty special.”
The trade would leave the Seahawks with just one quarterback but it will save them a decent chunk of change and recuperate some of the draft picks they relinquished in the trade for Percy Harvin. Seattle has 10 selections in the upcoming draft after giving up first- and seventh-round picks – along with a 2014 third-rounder – in the Harvin deal.