Why It Would Be Foolish To Trade Matt Flynn

I tend to keep my reading habits on Seattle sports teams to the news-influenced varieties.  The Seattle Times beat writers, some ESPN stuff, the occasional interesting tidbit I find while trolling Twitter.  As for blogs, I try to limit what I read to one or two per sport.  Otherwise, Jesus Christ, I wouldn’t get a damn thing done all day!  If only I could get paid to sit around reading other blogs all day … I’d be a 500 pound millionaire!

I’m not much of a fan of the Bleacher Report, mostly because I feel it’s a joyless enterprise, featuring unpaid writers whose sole purpose is to get people to generate content for the sake of boosting the number of viewers to their site.  The writers themselves may enjoy their time writing about whatever it is they opt to write about, but the people behind the scenes only care about one thing.  The day you try to turn an enjoyable hobby into a career is the day you stop being a fan and start being The Man.  And The Man, as we all know, sucks.

Anyway, this post was brought to my attention, and I couldn’t disagree with it more.

To start, I feel like people are WAY too caught up in what Matt Flynn is making.  In the grand scheme of things, $19.5 million over three years is practically nothing in NFL terms.  He got a $6 million signing bonus and he’s making another $2 million in base salary in 2012.  Considering he likely won’t be in the Pro Bowl or win the NFL MVP, we won’t have to factor in any incentives.  The Seahawks, if they wanted, could cut him next spring and only take a $6 million cap hit.  Considering we still have a reasonably low payroll with no high-contract guys on the team, I think taking a $6 million hit is well within our means.

Now, I can see how it might mess with your mindgrapes to see a backup quarterback making all those millions of dollars while doing little else but hold a clip board, but just calm down and take a breather.  First, I would think you’d be used to it by now, considering what we paid Charlie Whitehurst for his two years of “service”.  Second, don’t think of it as a backup making too much money; think of it as the quarterback position as a whole … not really costing us a whole lot compared to the rest of the league.

If you’re a Russell Wilson fan, then you probably believe he’s going to be The Chosen One (and after this weekend’s performance, how can you not be inspired?).  Right now, he’s a rookie, on a rookie deal, and a cheap one at that considering he was drafted in the third round.  By the time he’s eligible for an extension, Matt Flynn will be all gone; so it’s not like Flynn will be hampering our ability to extend our franchise quarterback. 

The fact that we have a $20 million quarterback on the roster not doing anything is irrelevant.  He’s making the money he’s making because that’s what he was worth to us at the time of signing.  We didn’t know we’d be able to draft Russell Wilson.  We didn’t know that Russell Wilson would look as good as he looked in the offseason.  We didn’t even know that he’d be able to show up and produce in preseason games.  If Matt Flynn put up the same exact numbers as Russell Wilson and we had the same record after six games, no one would be saying anything about his $20 million contract, except probably that he’s a bargain.

Moving on to this talk of trading Flynn … are you fucking high?  Generally, you can count on one hand the number of quarterbacks in a given season who play every snap of every game in the regular season.  The odds of ANY quarterback surviving the whole way are pretty damn small.  Factor in Wilson’s penchant for running, factor in his size, factor in the fact that he’s playing in his first season against professionals who want nothing more than to sever his head from his body, who are MUCH stronger and more athletic than Wilson’s erstwhile college counterparts, and I’d say the chances are pretty great that we’ll see a backup quarterback taking meaningful snaps this season.

People talk about the importance of a backup quarterback all the time for a reason!  You need someone who can step in there and steady the ship until the starter can return.  Matt Flynn is the perfect backup quarterback for the very same reason why he’s such an enticing trade chip:  because he COULD be starting for teams like Kansas City, Jacksonville, Cleveland, and I’d even throw in the Raiders, Cardinals, and Jets.

Without Flynn, we’d be forced to start Josh Portis.  In essence, that would mean we’d effectively throw all those games in the trash.  With Flynn, we’d have the opportunity to not miss a beat.  With Portis, you might as well forfeit.

If Wilson makes it through 2012 unscathed.  If he continues to progress and get better and show flashes of true brilliance.  If he can lead us to the playoffs and not totally embarrass himself, then I’d be willing to just give him the keys to this team and see what he can do.  But, if he gets knocked around, maybe starts coming down with concussions.  Or if he regresses, makes a lot of mistakes, and leads us to a disappointing finish, then you absolutely have to keep all your options open.  And what better option than going with a guy already on your roster who still might turn out to be a high-quality quarterback?

But, by no means would you trade Flynn DURING the season.  That’s outright insanity.  You revisit that in the offseason, but you really don’t have to make it a priority.  You let teams come to you.  You let them out-bid one another.  You get the best possible return you could possibly get, and THEN you pull the trigger.

The Seahawks aren’t in the business of selling assets for pennies on the dollar.  Not when they don’t have to.  Not when they still have cap room to burn.  Why?  When the only consequence is reading a few blog posts about how much money Flynn is making?  What harm is that REALLY causing the team?  You’re worried about a quarterback controversy?  If Russell Wilson stinks up the joint, guess what?  There would be a quarterback controversy no matter how much the backup is earning from his contract!

So why should the Seahawks give away a starting-caliber quarterback for nothing?  Essentially, that would be nothing more than helping out your competition.  Make them earn it.  Make them offer you a deal you can’t refuse.  Until then, enjoy the comfort you’ve earned by knowing that if your starter goes down, it won’t necessarily be the end of the world.

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