By Brady Henderson
Considered dwindling and perhaps even dead as recently as a week ago, the trade market for Matt Flynn is reportedly heating up.
According to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com, the Jaguars, Raiders and Bills all “have at least some interest in making a deal” with the Seahawks for their backup quarterback. La Canfora cites sources as saying Jacksonville is the mostly likely destination and he speculates that the most Seattle can get in return for Flynn could be a fourth- or fifth-round pick.
A few thoughts and notes:
Seahawks’ cap room. The Seahawks have consistently said they’re content with keeping Flynn as their backup despite a somewhat pricey contract that is scheduled to pay him $5.25 million in base salary and count $7.25 million against the cap this upcoming season. They also said they entered free agency not expecting to make a big splash before trading for Percy Harvin and signing Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett. The deals those three players signed will count a combined $13.45 million against the 2013 salary cap.
According to ProFootballTalk.com, Seattle has $6.8 million remaining in cap space, 17th-most in the NFL. Some of that must be saved for drafted players. After their busy first week of free agency, might Seattle now be more inclined to clear some space by moving Flynn?
Connections to Flynn. The Jaguars have long been considered a logical landing spot for Flynn for two reasons: their quarterbacks have been less than brilliant and they have a connection to Flynn in the form of head coach Gus Bradley, who was previously Seattle’s defensive coordinator. The Raiders might also need a quarterback and they also have a connection to Flynn. General manager Reggie McKenzie was working in the Packers’ front office when Green Bay drafted Flynn. He became Oakland’s GM the same year Flynn signed with Seattle.
Those connections will make Jacksonville and Oakland more familiar than other teams with Flynn, for sure. But that won’t necessarily make Flynn a more appealing option in their eyes. Familiarity can work both ways. A coach or executive with previous ties to an available player will know everything about him, including his weaknesses and limitations. I doubt Ken Whisenhunt, the former Cardinals coach and current Chargers offensive coordinator, is urging San Diego to sign Kevin Kolb as a backup. That might be an extreme example, and there’s no reason to think either Bradley’s nor McKenzie’s experience with Flynn was a bad one, but it’s something to keep in mind when considering such connections.
Palmer’s situation. The Raiders are reportedly trying to restructure quarterback Carson Palmer’s contract and would presumably trade or release him if he’s unwilling to do so. Terrelle Pryor is the only other quarterback on the Raiders’ roster, so parting ways with Palmer would create an even bigger need at the position. If he’s not already, Flynn could easily be the best veteran option by the time Palmer’s situation is resolved.
By the way: Oakland doesn’t own picks in the second and fifth rounds of this year’s draft. The Raiders gave their second-rounder to Cincinnati when they acquired Palmer and their fifth-rounder to Seattle as part of the Aaron Curry trade.
Clayton skeptical. John Clayton isn’t buying the notion of a sudden spike in the market for Flynn. He thinks the Raiders would be interested if Palmer is cut but suggested that Flynn’s agent could be leaking the information in an attempt to generate interest in his client. You can listen to Clayton’s thoughts here.