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Matt Flynn

Since the Green Bay Packers re-signed tight end Jermichael Finley, all eyes have turned to backup quarterback Matt Flynn.

Flynn is now a candidate to get the franchise tag, which means the Packers would owe the quarterback $14.4 million for the 2012 season. Of course, the only reason they’d franchise Flynn is to trade him. The boys at the Press Gazette say the tag is a real possibility.

A front-office executive for an NFL team said the league doesn’t discourage tag-and-trade strongly enough to prevent the Packers from doing it with Flynn if they think it’s their best move. Another NFL scout said he thinks some team will trade a decent draft pick and pay Flynn a good enough contract to swing the deal, even though the quarterback has started only two NFL games.

Here’s where the waters get murky. There are several teams that need a quarterback — Miami, Seattle, Washington and Cleveland are at the top of the list. Several of those teams are rumored to be interested in trading up to draft Baylor’s Robert Griffin III. Several of those teams would be interested in Peyton Manning if the Colts release him. Several of those teams are also rumored to be interested in Flynn. Do they make a play for Flynn, wait until the draft to try to get Griffin or try to beat everyone else out for Manning… if he’s released?

The smart money says some team will be willing to give up a draft pick for Flynn in order to be certain they won’t end up going to camp with the same retreads pretending to be quarterbacks they had last year. It’s an easier solution that gambling that Manning gets released AND wants to play for your team or that your team has enough to pry the No. 2 pick from St. Louis.

Word out of Ohio is the Cleveland Browns and former Packers coach Mike Holmgren, a.k.a. The Walrus, will make a play for Flynn.

The brass will make a play for Matt Flynn. Mike Holmgren is no great fan of quarterback competitions. If he signs Flynn, it would be with the intention of starting Flynn.

Miami, where former offensive coordinator Joe Philbin is the new coach, still looks like the most likely landing spot for the LSU product, though. Flynn’s familiarity with the offense would ease his transition to full-time starter and Philbin’s familiarity with Flynn would ease his transition to head coach.

It’s still questionable whether the Packers will tag Flynn though. If he simply signs elsewhere as a free agent, the Packers will get a compensatory pick in 2013. John Clayton suggests that pick may be as high as a third-rounder.

If the team were to tag and trade him, they’d likely end up with a second-rounder this year. So, do the Packers deal with the headache of working out a trade for Flynn to get a second-rounder now or simply not deal with the potential pitfalls, sit back and collect a third-rounder next year?

While tagging Flynn could go badly if the Packers don’t have several potential suitor in place and move him quickly, the positives are much greater.

Consider this: the potential third-round compensatory pick in 2013 would come at the end of the third round. Trading Flynn to any of the aforementioned teams could net the Packers a high second-round pick this year. Cleveland picks fifth in the second round, Washington seventh, Miami 10th and Seattle 11th.

Couple that with the fact the draft pick would have a year in the Packers system under his belt before the compensatory draft pick even gets drafted and you can see the clear advantage to tagging Flynn.

Will it happen? Only Big Ted knows at this point.

Monty McMahon

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.



  1. rickshow February 24, 2012

    I don’t think even Ted knows at this point, but every fan wants GB to get something for Flynn, no doubt. The Packers won’t tag him without a deal in place to go somewhere else because the risk is too great otherwise. I think we should all just hope for as many teams as possible to inquire and drive the price up. Otherwise, a 3rd Round compensatory pick would be the BEST possible scenario if Flynn played GREAT somewhere else. Most likely, it would not be a 3rd rounder, maybe 5th. *fingers crossed*

  2. wisconsinfan February 24, 2012

    Hope we get something. Lol the walrus

  3. iltarion February 24, 2012

    It would definitely be nice to get a pick this year, but as I’ve maintained this whole time, I have a hard time seeing it happen.

    The Packers don’t have the cap space to keep Flynn on their roster with the tag. Everyone knows this. Therefore, why would you contact the Packers about trading for him? If Flynn gets tagged, his value goes down because the Packers have zero leverage; they have to trade him. So, if you want the guy, you’d wait until after the Packers tag him to make a deal.

    Contacting the Packers before they’ve tagged him increases the Packers’ leverage. If the Packers don’t like what you are offering, they can always just let him go to free agency and take their chances with the compensatory pick. The Packers no longer have that option once he’s been tagged.

    So, if you are Mike Holmgren, you let the Packers make the first move. If the Packers release Flynn, you take your shot in free agency. It might cost you more, but it won’t cost you any draft picks. If the Packers tag Flynn, then you call and offer like a 4th round pick. The Packers will have no choice but to take that unless they get a better offer from somewhere else.

    The only way I can see someone negotiating with TT right now is if some team were deathly afraid of Flynn going to free agency. Otherwise, I don’t see it.

  4. peter February 25, 2012

    why you trade… because you don’t want to get in a bidding war you look at it there are 2 qb’s probably in FA Manning who is quite possibly done and Flynn then there are 2 qb’s in the draft so you figure 2 teams draft a qb then there are 4-6 left looking to sign one I much rather take a gamble of 5-8 mil on flynn turning into a good qb than 1-2 yrs of manning. The interest is there and I foresee Ted pulling another clay bj draft with this trade.

  5. Kozak February 25, 2012

    Tag him. So many needs at other positions to fill having another 2nd round pick would be SO helpful.

  6. I Got Woodson February 25, 2012


    What you’re saying makes sense if there’s only one team that would be interested in Flynn — but there appear to be multiple teams in need of a good QB. It would be best for all of those teams if none of them contacted the Packers, but if just one team breaks rank and talks, all the others lose out on the chance at a franchise QB. It’s the prisoners’ dilemma.

    Also, Flynn being tagged is good for other teams in certain ways. First, the tag is a one-year contract. If Flynn starts slowly next year (like many players do when they switch teams) or bombs, whoever gets him could sign him to a favorable long-term contract or walk away without long-term obligations. As a free agent, he’d certainly receive a significant multi-year contract.

    Second, to a team with an abundance of picks (here’s looking at you, Cleveland) a trade might appear favorable to competing in free agency. Look at it this way: If you have an excess of one resource (picks) and a fixed amount of another (cap space), wouldn’t you prefer using the excess to get what you want? To Cleveland, for instance, a second-round pick is far less valuable than a large multi-year contract.

    Overall, I think that the significant number of QB-needy teams make it worthwhile to tag Flynn even if there’s no trade deal in place (having one in place might violate tampering rules anyway, and with Finley signed and Wells, Clifton, and Driver gone/restructured/resigned I believe there’s enough cap room for the tag). If you’re a team with a hole at QB, the only players who are anywhere near safe bets are Luck, Griffin, and Flynn (Manning may very well never play again; he’s certainly not a safe bet). Assuming the Colts draft Luck, you now can choose between A) trading into the high first round to get Griffin, B) trading a pick or two for Flynn, or C) rolling the dice with a different, probably inferior QB. Because it’ll take less to get Flynn than Griffin, and because Flynn’s played well in the NFL already, I think plenty of teams will be interested. All it takes is one to make a deal.

  7. iltarion February 25, 2012

    That is a good post, Woodson.

    Multiple teams being interested and one team KNOWING that is a powerful wildcard in play here.

    However, no one has mentioned the fact that if you tag Flynn, that means he’s entitled to $14 million this season. Whoever trades for Flynn will have to get him to agree to a deal that is going to better than that $14 million. You can accomplish that with around an $8 to $10 million base and decent signing bonus that gets spread out over a long-term contract. The point is that if you just allow Flynn to go to free agency, you may or may not have to pay him so much, depending on the market.

    Also keep in mind that the Kevin Kolb trade has pretty much turned into a disaster for the Cardinals. The track record for signing QBs after a couple good games is NOT good. Matt Cassell hasn’t exactly been a franchise QB either. KC is considering pursuing Peyton Manning.

    In short, it could happen, and it would be nice if it did. But if I was the GM of one of these teams, there is no way I would offer anything until after the March 5th deadline has passed and the Packers have made a move either way. If another team wants to pay more by contacting the Packers beforehand, that is their funeral.

    On the other hand, I’ve always said that a franchise QB is the one thing that is worth overpaying for. If you don’t have one, you gotta get one, no matter how you do it.

    There is no winning a Championship without one.

  8. Vijay February 26, 2012

    In today’s news 02/26/12 NFL Network reports that Packers WON’T use the tag on Flynn. They suck at negotiating.

  9. iltarion February 26, 2012

    You don’t know what is being offered, VJ. If no one is offering anything better than a 4th rounder, you take the compensatory pick.

    It is also possible that no one is even calling.