Posted April 01, 2013

Matt Flynn is Raiders’ latest attempt to trade for franchise QB

Oakland Raiders
Matt Flynn was poised to be the Seahawks' starter last year, but then Russell Wilson happened. (Ted S. Warren/AP)

Matt Flynn was poised to be the Seahawks’ starter last year, but then Russell Wilson happened. (Ted S. Warren/AP)

The Oakland Raiders misfired badly in their last attempt to trade for a franchise quarterback. Beleaguered by salary-cap woes and an overmatched roster, they’re set to give it another shot.

Less than two years after trading a 2012 first-round pick and 2013 second-rounder to Cincinnati for Carson Palmer, the Raiders struck a deal Monday to bring Seattle backup QB Matt Flynn to Oakland — where he will be asked to take over the starting job from Palmer.

Palmer, who balked when asked to take a pay cut from the $13 million owed him as a base salary for 2013, likely will be traded by the Raiders to the QB-needy Arizona Cardinals for a late-round choice.

But the big news here, for now, is that Flynn is again on the move. After signing a three-year, $19.5 million deal with the Seahawks last offseason, Flynn then lost a competition for the team’s starting job to third-round pick Russell Wilson.

Wilson’s subsequent success made Flynn expendable, though Seattle appeared set to keep the relatively high-priced backup around if a trade partner could not be found. Instead, the Seahawks will clear the remaining two years of Flynn’s contract from their books (though they’ll be on the hook for $4 million in cap charges this year) and will turn to either free agency or the draft to find a safety net for Wilson.

While Flynn ought to be excited to fall into playing time again, the situation awaiting him in Oakland is a rather dire one. The Raiders are coming off a 4-12 season, lost multiple players off their 2012 defense, and tight end Brandon Myers (the team’s leading receiver in ’12) and Darrius Heyward-Bey both hit the road in free agency.

Flynn also has not started a regular-season game since Week 17 of the 2011 campaign, and he has made just two career NFL starts. Last year, he threw all of nine passes, completing five.

It’s possible the Raiders will allow Terrelle Pryor to compete with Flynn for the No. 1 QB job come training camp, which would put Flynn back into a situation similar to the one he left in Seattle. However, unlike Wilson, Pryor has struggled to carve out any significant role since making the NFL jump. He played in three games last season (with one start), but major questions remain about his ability to run an NFL offense.

Thanks to that Palmer trade, the Raiders have just one pick in the top 65 selections in this year’s NFL Draft (No. 3 overall). Somewhere along the line, Oakland must find a few weapons with which to surround Flynn — their current pass-catching corps of Denarius Moore, Rod Streater, Jacoby Ford, Juron Criner and tight ends Richard Gordon and David Ausberry hardly inspire much confidence.

They may then be a prime candidate to trade down to acquire more picks, should any other franchise be interested in that No. 3 selection. The added twist: With the Flynn trade possibly leading Palmer to Arizona, and with the Bills reportedly interested in Kevin Kolb, top QB prospect Geno Smith could slip. So, the Raiders would need another incoming rookie or two to drum up significant interest atop multiple draft boards.

In addition, Oakland must eat nearly $10 million in salary on Palmer’s contract, despite releasing him. Add in Flynn’s $5.25 million base for 2013, and the Raiders will be paying about as much to their QB position as they would had they simply kept Palmer at his original salary.

Will the swap pay off for an increasingly desperate Oakland team? A lot depends on what the Raiders can do to rebuild their roster from here … and on if Flynn is the QB who hit the free-agent market with steam in 2012 or the one who lost his spot to Wilson shortly thereafter.

23 comments
ThaFootballGuru
ThaFootballGuru

I understand it's going to take a couple seasons to get my Raiders where they need to be but I would have rather had Kolb signed to a low contract than go with a guy who made a name for himself against the lowly Lions defense a couple seasons ago.

But, I at least hope I'm wrong. I'm sure he is only a short term fix.

Lacentral
Lacentral

raiders need to be shot!!! blame al davis all you want but uncle reggie is doing a jacked up job!

Wisconsin Death Trip
Wisconsin Death Trip

Will the "Sins of the Father" be lifted enough for the Raiders to be a viable team again ....... I don't see a Matt Hasselbeck strikes twice scenerio here at all. 

JackWilliams
JackWilliams

Wake up, Burke: Kolb is already signed by the Bills.

HawksFan
HawksFan

Well, he'll buy you guys a couple of years until you can take your chance at Johnny Football in the draft

leehwgoc
leehwgoc

The Flynn trade, IN AND OF ITSELF, is fine.  

 

Obviously, what's really screwed them in particular is the prior Palmer trade in addition to all the other poor decisions in recent years, and so no matter what the next few seasons are going to be dire for the team.  Keeping those two low-value picks in 2014 and 2015 wouldn't have changed that.

 

Examining the Flynn trade by itself with no other context, I think the Raiders paid a fair price for a guy that will be, at worst, one of the highest quality back-up QBs in the league, and at best, might just actually be good enough to be a reliable mid-tier starter at his position.

 

The big knock on Flynn is his arm-strength, and it is a significant criticism... but frankly arm-strength really isn't as important in the NFL as the ability to make quick reads, fast progressions, and accurate intermediate throws; if you can only have arm-strength, or the latter skills, I'll take the latter every time.  The sample-size on Flynn is admittedly small, but what I have seen shows a young QB that is ahead of the curb in many areas that usually doom young QBs to NFL failure.

 

I thought this during last year's off-season, and I think so now, too:  Matt Flynn could surprise people.  Much more modest arms than his have come upon starter-caliber success in the NFL in the past.

MichaelKlaric
MichaelKlaric

Why am I not surprised that this article has no referenced author when it's rationale is so short-sighted? This is not an attempt at landing a "franchise quarterback" by any means, and it's sensible for the Raiders, or at least as sensible as the Raiders are going to get out of what possible options they could have pursued. They needed salary cap space to even be able to field a team in the first place, one that will be a whipping boy for the rest of the league this year. Palmer was not motivated to help with that effort; not willing to take a pay cut on a team that was willing to compete with him as their starter. Huh. Palmer turning out to be selfish? How surprising! Sorry Arizona, or whomever is going to end up being desperate enough to take this player on, you're not going to get anywhere near the value that his salary should command as he's not a person who can see that when earning that much that his interests should be second.Getting back to the team that might be lucky enough to divest themselves of that millstone of a player,  let's be honest. The Raiders aren't going to threaten the path to the Superbowl, much less the playoffs. But they do need to rebuild their team and bring it up from the salary cap mess, weak roster of overpaid players, and draft decimation through unwise, unproductive trades, that the new organization had inherited. That's not something that disappears overnight. That's not something you can just resolve by making a single roster move. That's not something you can fix without first taking some steps that will hurt, in order to really stop the bleeding and start the healing. Here, the key pain was the salary cap, which even a serious roster spring cleaning could not overcome, and where Palmer was patently unwilling to be of help to the franchise. The Raiders still had an aging franchise quarterback wannabe from a bad trade, who was grossly overpaid and unwilling to allow a reorganization of his contract in order for the franchise, the one that had believed in him enough to mortgage the farm for him in the first place,  to actually field a team. Why keep that problem around to affect the franchise not just this year but the next one? Let's remember that Palmer's contract would have been just as ugly next offseason as it was for the Raiders during this one. One way or another, Oakland needed to clear cap space. One way or another they needed a quarterback rotation of at least some capability. They did what they had to do. They have some cap room to work with, even if it's not a whole lot. They have a couple of quarterbacks on their roster that have the potential to be capable starters.

 

They are working to shed the cap-killing Palmer through a trade, rather than release him and simply eat his contract. And regardless of what happens with Palmer now, the Raiders will free themselves of having to deal with it all over again next year, in the final year of that horrendous contract of his.

 

What more would our unknown pundit have this team do that is actually within the scope of options available to them? I'd like to know. For the hapless Raiders, trying to dig themselves out of a franchise hole, that's about as much of a successful move as they were going to have a chance to pull off during this offseason.

 

 

JimShackelford
JimShackelford

The really bad Raider decision was paying big money and draft choices for Palmer. There was no recent evidence he'd be worth even a 4th rounder and $2 million a year.

rongrummer
rongrummer

You can't blame Flynn for getting beat out by Wilson, there aren't a handful of starting QBs in the league who wouldn't be beat out by Wilson.

RJC
RJC

It just gets harder & harder ever year to remain a Raiders fan. Can someone PLEASE explain to them the way to build a winner is NOT trade away draft picks on mediocre &/or unproven players?!

BrianHu
BrianHu

Why is every reporter so down on Flynn? So he lost his job last year to a rookie. That rookie turned out to be pretty good. As far as the T. Pryor bashing not being able to run an NFL offense, you're basing this on what, one game? TP is a man on a mission this year and unfortunately for Flynn, he'll be warming the bench for TP this year.

BrianHu
BrianHu

@Lacentral Ya Reggie's doing a jacked up job. He's going to have the Raiders $69 million under the salary cap next year. Reggie you idiot! What the hell are you doing???

unitcaptain11
unitcaptain11

 @MichaelKlaric   "This is not an attempt at landing a "franchise quarterback" by any means,"

 

WTF?  Of course it is.  The Raiders need a QB, that's why they got Flynn.

leehwgoc
leehwgoc

 @BrianHu Pryor is garbage.  Seriously.   Super prototypical athleticism-reliant college QB star that is practically made to fail in the NFL.

 

I would be shocked if Flynn doesn't easily beat out Pryor in camp.

Marsh the Great
Marsh the Great

 @BrianHu Maybe it's because Flynn was signed on the merit of one very good game (and ONLY one very good game) the previous season. When a team takes a gamble on a player with such a short resume, the idea is that they HAVE to be the franchise guy and that failure is not an option. NOBODY could have predicted that Russel Wilson would have been as effective as he was during his rookie year and while it's not Flynn's fault that he was over-valued and not as good as Wilson, it still resounds as a failure. Here we are again and a team is making ANOTHER huge gamble for him based on just one great game at the NFL level. I don't know if it's "fair" to be down on Flynn personally for this but it truly is nonsensical so I believe the media criticism is warranted, at least in that regard.

leehwgoc
leehwgoc

 @unitcaptain11  @MichaelKlaric The bottom line is that a perceived 'franchise quarterback' is never obtained for merely a 5th round pick and some other late-round pick.  

 

MichaelKlaric is right, the article's title is pretty stupid.   The writer is trying too hard to make a slanted point.

leehwgoc
leehwgoc

 @unitcaptain11  @MichaelKlaric Dude, there's a difference between going for a stop-gap solution at a position, and going for a 'franchise player' at a position.  The Raiders are obviously doing the former with Flynn.

MichaelKlaric
MichaelKlaric

 @unitcaptain11 Come now captain, you're smarter than that. When we're talking "franchise" quarterback, we're not talking about the technical reality that someone is playing for the NFL, we're talking about NFL quarterbacks around whom you build or rebuild your franchise because they can take you to the playoffs regularly, go deep in them, and have a solid chance to bring you home a SuperBowl trophy during their tenure. Carson Palmer is NOT a franchise quarterback, nor is Matt Flynn. They are not on the level of a Brady, Rogers, Brees, or one of the Manning brothers, etc. The Raiders got a potential back up or starter for their franchise. They did NOT under any intelligent assessment get themselves a "franchise" quarterback.

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

 @JackWilliams  Keep reading his stuff and giving him those page hits.  That'll show him.

JackWilliams
JackWilliams

 @leehwgoc    

 Chris Burke is just another blogger from the Mike-Florio-write-whatever-nitwit-thought-comes-to-mind school of rumors. It seems every website now has at least one blogger who is allowed to write whatever he wants unsupported by fact a la profootballtalk.com. Who needs to research facts when juicy rumors get page hits.

MichaelKlaric
MichaelKlaric

 @cheezin99  @MichaelKlaric  @luvfoozball True deal "Cheezin99", true deal. I could have clarified that better. But let's not dismiss that part of the motivation in making that trade may have stemmed from the motivation to "Win one for the Gipper" and provide  a legacy moment to cap off Al Davis' "Commitment to Excellence."

MichaelKlaric
MichaelKlaric

 @luvfoozball Absolutely true. The acquisition of Palmer was one of the worst trades for a quarterback and possibly one of the worst trades ever. With Al Davis in ill health and a decently performing team at the time that Jason Campbell went down, they made a decision based out of desperate need and desire, allowing Cincy to fleece them when they were pretty much bidding against only themselves. But let's also keep in mind that it's not the current Raider regime that put the franchise into that situation, even though they are the ones who are having to do the heavy lifting in order to pull the team out of the quagmire (Giggity!) that they created. The Raiders needed cap space, they needed to do Something about their situation with Palmer, and they needed roster depth at quarterback not to be left at one possibility in Pryor. Versus the Palmer trade, the pick up of Flynn to allow them to deal or jettison Palmer, to give some amount of breathing room with the cap, and still have at least a couple of quarterbacks on the roster was a smarter move to make. The cost of that change is very reasonable for a low round pick. It's not the rape of the Raider's draft future that the other trade ended up being, even if it doesn't turn out well. More over, if the team wasn't sold on Geno Smith as the answer at pick number 3, now the Raiders are not going to feel like they have to spend that pick on a QB prospect whose upside and risk levels just don't merit using the third overall slot. Now they can go for the best player available for their system that also fits a need and has the best chance to excel at the NFL level.

luvfoozball
luvfoozball

 @MichaelKlaric  While you are correct logically that Palmer and Flynn are not players around whom you build a franchise, what you are not mentioning is Oakland was desperate enough to try that with Palmer.

 

Delusional? Yes, I know. Thats why Oakland was the laughing stock of the West Coast NFL teams.

 

Even now it is desperate enough to try that with Flynn.