The Seahawks have themselves a new starting quarterback. One of the most wanted — but unproven — players in free agency, Matt Flynn, ex-Green Bay Packer, agreed to a three-year deal with the Seahawks Sunday, for a salary of between $24 and $26 million. Reportedly, just $10 million of that is guaranteed.
The news apparently so elated team owner Paul Allen that he used his Twitter account to congratulate GM John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll for locking up a player who has made all of two NFL starts.
They were magnificent starts. Two years ago, while backing up Aaron Rodgers, Flynn got a chance to take on Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. He nearly beat his estimable opponents.
Last Jan. 1, with Rodgers resting in anticipation of the playoffs, Flynn received his second starting assignment. Six touchdown passes and 480 yards later, he had transformed himself from undistinguished backup into the most prized commodity on the NFL’s QB free-agent market — until the Indianapolis Colts released Peyton Manning in lieu of paying him a $28 million roster bonus.
Manning’s availability, and the choice of teams for which he auditioned — Denver, Arizona, Miami and Tennessee — impeded Flynn’s choice of landing spots, as did his relationship with Joe Philbin, once his quarterbacks coach in Green Bay, now the head coach of the Dolphins.
After Manning discarded the Dolphins as a potential employer, most thought Flynn, based on his prior relationship with Philbin, would sign in Miami. But Miami apparently tried to low-ball Flynn, hoping to take advantage of his association with Philbin. Didn’t work. Flynn, who visited the Seahawks Thursday and Friday, decided on the Seahawks instead.
The Dolphins are now the NFL’s most dissed team: Manning told them no earlier this week, Flynn snubbed them Sunday. The Dolphins will now turn their attention to 49ers free agent Alex Smith, which leaves San Francisco in a position to have no quarterback if Smith signs in Miami and Manning rejects the Niners.
The Seahawks are likely to say that there will be an “open competition” at quarterback when training camp arrives, but unless matters go completely awry, Flynn, a product of Louisiana State University who was the 12th quarterback selected in the 2008 NFL draft, will replace Tarvaris Jackson behind center. You don’t pay $26 million to a guy to sit.
Probably the most disconsolate man in Seattle today, Jackson threw for a career-high 3,091 yards last season, but fired just 14 touchdown passes and had a passer rating of only 79.2. In four NFL seasons covering 34 games, Flynn has thrown for 1,015 yards and 9 TDs, but has a 92.8 passer rating.
This marks the second time that the Seahawks have looked to the Packers to supply them with a starting quarterback. Before the start of the 2001 season, then head coach Mike Holmgren, who had been head coach of the Packers, sent draft choices to Green Bay in order to acquire Matt Hasselbeck, who ran the Seahawks offense for nearly a decade, leading them to a Super Bowl appearance after the 2005 season.
The Seahawks have now addressed three major needs in free agency: Re-signed RB Marshawn Lynch, brought back DE Red Bryant, and secured a starting quarterback for a team that has had a need for a long-term solution at that position since Hasselbeck departed.
Whether Flynn is that solution remains to be seen. But he will be given every opportunity to make his case.
Seattle had insider knowledge of Flynn from the fact that GM Schneider worked for Green Bay when the Packers drafted Flynn.
Now Seattle avoids wading through a trough of remaining free-agent quarterbacks that still includes Charlie Batch, Matt Leinart, Kellen Clemens, Jake Delhomme, Dennis Dixon and A.J. Feeley. Oh, and let’s now forget J.P. Losman.