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.