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January 30, 2013 at 6:33 AM

Charlie Whitehurst just might be a guide for Matt Flynn’s trade value

We don’t know what the Seahawks will take for quarterback Matt Flynn, but history might provide a pretty good guide for what they’ll want.

Because for all the time that has been spent discussing where Flynn fits into this year’s marketplace at quarterback, the past 15 years has at least three examples of trades for a backup quarterback that general manager John Schneider has been personally involved with. The most recent involved Charlie Whitehurst in 2010, and if you’re wondering just what in the world that has to do with the price of Flynn in 2013, well, hold on. We’ll explain. It’s actually pretty instructive because Seattle swapped second-round draft position with San Diego to acquire the right to pay Whitehurst a two-year, $8 million contract.

Now Flynn has a little more NFL experience than Whitehurst as Flynn started two games for the Packers while Whitehurst hadn’t thrown a regular-season pass before coming to Seattle. Flynn is also going to make a little more money in 2013.

But think about what Seattle saw Whitehurst as: A player with extensive experience as a backup quarterback behind one of the league’s top quarterbacks who had a chance to blossom as a starter if transplanted. Now think about how accurately that describes Flynn after four years behind Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay and a season here in Seattle.

Flynn was intriguing enough to get the largest contract of any free-agent quarterback last year outside of Peyton Manning, but couldn’t secure Seattle’s starting job ahead of Wilson. And while it’s hard to knock Flynn for losing out to a guy who only went out and matched Manning’s rookie record for touchdown passes, Flynn isn’t any more of a proven commodity than he was a year ago.

He’s a player who could pan out as a long-term starter, and two years ago, the price for Seattle to acquire a quarterback like that was switching places in the second-round draft order. Update: Alert reader Keith Muramoto points out that Seattle also gave up a 2011 third-round pick. He’s absolutely correct. While Seattle drafted John Moffitt in the third round in 2011, that was after trading down in the draft order from the second round.

And at the time, I remember Sports Illustrated’s Peter King pointing out that the acquisition of Whitehurst followed a trend that Schneider had observed and even helped set in Green Bay.

The Packers made a cottage industry of dealing backups who went on to be starters elsewhere whether it was Mark Brunell to Jacksonville, Aaron Brooks to New Orleans or that Matt Hasselbeck guy to Seattle.

In each case, the Packers acquired a third-round pick in addition to other concessions. That’s about the value that Seattle gave up to acquire Whitehurst in 2010, sliding down 20 spots in the second-round order and going from the No. 40 overall pick to No. 60, where the Seahawks chose Golden Tate.

And that’s probably a pretty good barometer for what Seattle is seeking for Flynn, just remember, it might not be a third-round pick outright but a move up the draft order.


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