Former Green Bay Packers quarterback Matt Flynn didn't get the huge contract Kevin Kolb did last year, but he does have a new home. On Sunday, the seventh-round pick out of LSU in 2008 agreed to terms with the Seattle Seahawks on a three-year, $26 million deal that guarantees him $10 million. According to SI.com's Peter King, Flynn will get between $13.5 and $16 million in the first two years -- if he's not the answer after the first two years, the remainder of the agreement is basically voidable.
The deal will put Flynn in the pole position as the Seahawks' starter, but he'll likely have to beat Tarvaris Jackson out to make it so in the long term. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll confirmed that in a brief statement: "We are really excited to bring Matt in here to compete with Tarvaris."
Flynn had visited with the Seahawks and Dolphins before making his final decision, and there are connections to Green Bay in both places -- new Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin was Green Bay's offensive coordinator from 2007-2011, and Seahawks general manager John Schneider was part of the Green Bay front office that had a fourth-round grade on Flynn.
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"If it happens, it happens," Schneider said at February's scouting combine of Seattle's pressing need for an elite quarterback. "You can put yourself in a tough situation if you just go all-in with a guy that you feel pressured to take. You can end up setting your organization back. ... I'm talking about giving up draft choices to go get somebody or guaranteeing somebody a ton of money that you're not quite sure is the guy that's going to get you over that hump. If you do that, then you can set your organization back. It happened to us in Green Bay at a different position. We got in a situation where it just got jammed up. You overdrafted at one position then you overpay at the same position. It will jack you up."
Schneider knows of what he speaks -- the same year the Packers took Flynn in the seventh round, they took Louisville's Brian Brohm in the second. Brohm quickly ran himself off the Packers' roster, and was last seen playing horribly for the Buffalo Bills at the end of the 2010 season.
Flynn excelled in two NFL starts -- one in 2010, and another in 2011 -- as Aaron Rodgers' backup. In an offense with perhaps the best receiver corps in the NFL, he completed 24 of 37 passes for 251 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception in a 31-27 December loss to the New England Patriots. Rodgers was overcoming the effects of a concussion suffered against the Detroit Lions the week before. In the Packers' 2011 regular-season finale, Flynn got a measure of revenge on Rodgers' behalf, lighting the Lions up for a franchise-record six touchdowns. On that day, he completed 31 of 44 passes for 480 yards and one interception.
Flynn's small sample size has been very impressive, but legitimate concerns drove his price down. When the Arizona Cardinals gave Kevin Kolb a six-year, $65 million deal with at least $12 million guaranteed (and possibly much more, based on certain incentives), they also sent a second-round draft pick and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromatie for a quarterback who had benefited greatly from the system he was in.
With Kolb, the Cardinals learned what teams have been re-learning all the way back to the Detroit Lions' Scott Mitchell debacle in the mid-1990s: When you give up too much for a system-dependent player, and your system doesn't match, it can tank your franchise for years.
Seattle's offer to Flynn is smart in comparison, and there's more for Flynn to work with. Not only do the Seahawks have an improving offensive line, but they operate a run-heavy offense around Marshawn Lynch and fullback Michael Robinson. Seattle doesn't offer the same caliber of receivers that Flynn had in Green Bay, but it's not just Larry Fitzgerald and the Pips, either.
No. 1 receiver Sidney Rice is very dynamic when healthy (which, to date, hasn't been often enough), and rookie Doug Baldwin was one of the NFL's pleasant surprises in 2011, becoming the first undrafted first-year player in league history to lead his team in both receptions and receiving yards.
The size of the deal also means that the Seahawks still have other options at quarterback. Don't rule out an early draft pick at that position, though Flynn allows them to focus on other positions in the first round.
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