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March 4, 2013 at 11:08 AM

Re-evaluating the market for Matt Flynn

Alex Smith headed to Kansas City
ESPN.com

Last week’s deal that will send Alex Smith to Kansas City is a good thing for Seattle for two reasons:

1) It didn’t undercut the value for Matt Flynn.
The Chiefs gave up their second-round pick, which is at the very top of the round — No. 34 overall — as well as a conditional pick down the road to acquire Smith’s contract. Now, Smith has a much larger body of work than Flynn not to mention more recent success. It figures he would command a higher price on the market even given the fact he’ll make more in 2013 than Flynn is scheduled. But if you peg Flynn’s trade value as a third-round pick with perhaps a little more sweetening added, then the 49ers’ trade does nothing to undercut that.

2) Neither of the J-words acquired Smith.
That would be the Jags and the Jets, who are probably the two most likely suitors. Jacksonville is coached by someone who is familiar with Flynn (Gus Bradley was Seattle’s defensive coordinator the past four seasons) while the Jets have a GM who was in Seattle’s front office when Flynn was acquired. Both are potentially looking for quarterback upgrades. Each might have an interest in Flynn.

When the offseason began, there were eight teams that appeared to have a clear-cut need at quarterback. With free agency just over a week away, here’s how those nine teams stand:


KANSAS CITY
Quarterbacks
Alex Smith
Matt Cassel
Brady Quinn
2013 salary
$7.5 million
$7.5 million
Free agent
Signed through
2014
2014
 
Situation: The Kansas City Chiefs answered their question at quarterback without using the top pick in the draft. That’s the good news. The bad news is that it will cost the team a second-round pick this season and a future choice to acquire the privilege of paying Alex Smith $7.5 million in 2013. The deal can’t be finalized until the league year begins on March 12, but all the pieces are in place, and the expectation is this will spell the end of Matt Cassel’s time in Kansas City.
Flynn-terest? Nope. Not after dealing for Smith.
NEW YORK JETS
Quarterbacks
Mark Sanchez
Tim Tebow
Greg McElroy
2013 salary
$8.3 million
$2.6 million
$555,000
Signed through
2016
2014
2014
Situation: While everyone is talking about the Jets’ cornerback — i.e. Darrelle Revis — its quarterback remains an uncertainty. New GM John Idzik talked about increasing competition at all elements of the roster, and while that doctrine of competition is not trademarked by Pete Carroll, it’s worth remembering that Seattle’s first significant addition under Carroll was the acquisition of Charlie Whitehurst. The Seahawks even held an impromptu press conference with the backup quarterback to show that he was being brought in to compete. Seems like adding a quarterback in New York would send the same statement for the Jets.
Flynn-terest? The Jets might be the most likely suitor even though they’re pretty pot-committed to keeping Sanchez at this point. If he were to falter — or worse yet, fail to win the job — Flynn would provided a viable alternative, and not only that, the fact Idzik was in Seattle when the team negotiated Flynn’s deal means he understands Flynn’s value.
ARIZONA
Quarterbacks
Kevin Kolb
Ryan Lindley
John Skelton
2013 salary
$9 million
$480,000
$575,000
Signed through
2016
2015
2013
Situation: The Cardinals started four different quarterbacks last year, none of them particularly good. Things are so bad with the Cardinals that the Chiefs’ acquisition of Alex Smith created a trickle-down speculation that perhaps the Cardinals would be interested in acquiring Matt Cassel. When you’re sifting through the recycling bin of a franchise that hasn’t had a quarterback it drafted win a game for the franchise since Todd Blackledge you’re pretty hard-up.
Flynn-terest? I will restate the NFL commandment that states, “Thou shalt not throw a life preserver to a division opponent in danger of drowning due to uncertainty at quarterback.” Really. That’s what it says.
CLEVELAND
Quarterbacks
Brandon Weeden
Colt McCoy
2013 salary
$757,436
$575,000
Signed through
2015
2013
Situation: The Browns haven’t ruled out the possibility of trading Brandon Weeden, which would mean that Cleveland is very much looking at all available options at quarterback. Norv Turner’s presence on the staff led many to think that Alex Smith would be a target given that Turner worked with Smith in 2006 in San Francisco. Well, Smith is headed to Kansas City.
Flynn-terested? Doubtful. Flynn’s strengths are timing and anticipation, and Turner’s passing game looks for big chunks of yardage. Flynn isn’t the kind of quarterbak Turner would covet.
JACKSONVILLE
Quarterbacks
Blaine Gabbert
Chad Henne
2013 salary
$1.5 million
$2.6 million
Signed through
2014
2013
Situation: The Jags already have two quarterbacks expected to compete for the job, could Flynn make it a three-way competition? It’s possible. Gus Bradley — the new Jags coach — didn’t work directly with Flynn in Seattle, but he certainly has an idea of the kind of person and player he’d be getting.
Flynn-terest? Possibly. The Jags and the Jets are the two most likely suitors for Flynn though the fact he’ll make more than the two quarterbacks the Jags currently have under contract makes it less than a slam dunk.
PHILADELPHIA
Quarterbacks
Michael Vick
Nick Foles
Dennis Dixon
2013 salary
$3.5 million
$500,000
$715,000
Signed through
2013
2015
Situation: Coach Chip Kelly has decided to stick with Vick. For a year. After appearing on his way out of town, Vick will return after restructuring his contract to what amounts to a one-year deal that could pay him up to $10 million, all told. That and the addition of Dixon pretty well sorts out the Eagles’ situation at quarterback unless they see someone they like in the draft.
Flynn-terest? None.
BUFFALO
Quarterbacks
Ryan Fitzpatrick
Tyler Thigpen
Tarvaris Jackson
2013 salary
$4.25 million
Free agent
$1.8 million
Signed through
2017
 
 
Situation: The Bills brought back Tarvaris Jackson, resigning him to a deal with a $500,000 signing bonus, $1.75 million base salary and an additional $2.25 million in incentives he figures to earn if he’s the starter for the majority of the year. This could very well mean that Jackson serves as a one-year bridge in Buffalo in much the same way he was in Seattle in 2011.
Flynn-terest? Nope. The Bills’ re-signing of Jackson indicated they’re not in the market for Flynn. Expect Buffalo to look for a quarterback in the draft, perhaps Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib, who played for new coach Doug Marrone in college.
OAKLAND
Quarterbacks
Carson Palmer
Terrelle Pryor
Matt Leinart
2013 salary
$13 million
$595,000
Free agent
Signed through
2014
2014

Free agent

Situation: Last we heard, the Raiders are still hoping, hoping, hoping that Carson Palmer will take a paycut.
Flynn-terest? Long shot. Seattle already holds a fifth-round pick belonging to Oakland by virtue of the Aaron Curry deal. Oakland won’t be giving up any more picks.

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