A potential Seahawks quarterback option emerges

Jan 2, 2012, 12:59 PM | Updated: 3:20 pm

By Mike Salk

It began before the Seahawks game even started.

“Matt Flynn is tearing it up today. Should the Hawks sign him?”

“Have you seen what Matt Flynn is doing right now? The Seahawks need to get him.”

“Matt Flynn is ON FIRE! Isn’t signing a free agent easier than trading a bounty for Luck/RGIII?”

None of the comments are surprising. Flynn threw for 480 yards and six touchdowns while filling in for Aaron Rodgers on Sunday. The Seahawks are in the market for a quarterback, and one of the few candidates for that position had a great game.

Packers quarterback Matt Flynn set franchise records with 480 yards passing and six touchdowns while playing in place of Aaron Rodgers on Sunday. (AP)

It is no different from my reaction after watching Robert Griffin III in the Valero Alamo Bowl. I’m already expecting the same reaction later today when Stanford plays Oklahoma State and we get our final collegiate look at Andrew Luck.

Flynn has one extra factor that makes him a possibility in Seattle — a link to general manager John Schneider, who was in Green Bay when Flynn was drafted.

So what do the Seahawks do? My answer is both simple and complex.

I think the Seahawks should identify the quarterback they believe is going to be the best and target him. That’s it. I know, it sounds simple and it sounds like a cop-out, but let me explain.

Right now, the Seahawks’ quarterback is Tarvaris Jackson. He is signed through next year and will likely be on the team, competing for the starting gig in training camp. It is natural to judge all potential quarterback options against him, since he is the incumbent.

To wit, @ColonMeals wrote to me: “TJax couldn’t go for 480 & 6 TDs if you gave him 7 quarters. Time to explore the Flynn option in earnest.”

He may very well be right, and Flynn may be an upgrade over Tarvaris Jackson, but by how large a margin? The question for me isn’t whether Flynn is an upgrade, but whether he is a potential elite franchise quarterback. That is the goal. I don’t want the Seahawks to spend major resources (i.e. money, draft picks) on a player just because they think he is better than Jackson.

I want them to spend whatever they have to spend to get a guy they think can be one of the top handful of quarterbacks in the league.

So, is that Matt Flynn?

Maybe. It’s hard to be sure how impressive Flynn really is. After winning at LSU, he was a late-round draft pick who outplayed second-rounder Brian Brohm to earn a lasting spot on the Green Bay roster. He has had a great opportunity to sit and learn behind Rodgers, much as Rodgers had that opportunity behind Brett Favre.

Flynn first entered the national consciousness after playing well (and losing) in a spot start last year against New England. He has since played reasonably well in blowout wins before his breakout performance against Detroit on Sunday.

His detractors will point out that he has an incredible collection of talent at wide receiver and an offense designed to let him showcase his ability. Some say that at 6-foot-2, he is too short to be a star. Others will point at his success in limited opportunities and extrapolate greatness.

Personally, I think he is closer to Kevin Kolb than Drew Brees, but I sure wouldn’t be shocked if he turned out to be much better than the supposed starter in Arizona.

Yes, it would take fewer resources to go after Flynn than it would to trade up in the draft. In fact, with nearly a handful of teams ahead of the Seahawks (who will pick 11th or 12th) needing a quarterback, it may be impossible for the Hawks to trade up far enough to grab either Luck or Griffin.

Look, if the Seahawks scout Matt Flynn and identify him as a franchise quarterback that can win championships here, then they should go after him. But if they think that Luck or Griffin has a better chance of being elite, then they should exhaust every option to acquire that player, up to and including trading multiple first-round picks.

Yes, that is where the debate really starts. We can all have our own opinions on which quarterback has the highest upside or the lowest risk factor, but we are just speculating. The real debate is about how much you are willing to sacrifice to get that quarterback.

I think the Hawks are in position to make a move for the guy they identify. With a solid defensive base, an offensive line that has four players with three or less years of experience all drafted within the top three rounds, and a demonstrated ability to play with most anyone in the league, the Seahawks could be contenders with a franchise player at the most important spot on the field.

Whereas the past few offseasons have been about acquiring enough top end talent to compete, the next step has to be about obtaining the very best quarterback they can find.

Remember, the Saints, Patriots and Packers could forfeit first-round picks and contend because they have the three best (healthy) quarterbacks in the game. I want the Seahawks to be in their category, which is why I think the elite quarterbacks in this draft are worth more than a good quarterback plus the picks.

Maybe Matt Flynn is that guy and the Hawks can have the best of both worlds. History tells us that the those franchise guys don’t change teams very often, but exceptions like Brees certainly exist.

Ultimately, it is going to be fun few months of speculation as we debate the merits of Flynn, Luck, Griffin, Jackson and other options like Peyton Manning, Ryan Tannehill or Kellen Moore.

We’ll all have our (mostly uneducated) opinions on each player, myself included. I just hope the Hawks get the guy they rank as the best option, not just the easiest to obtain.

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