We’re only weeks away from the NFL’s free agency period, and while it won’t mirror the frenzy of the post-lockout version, the amalgam of rumors and transactions will make for quite a circus. One of the featured players who should generate some of the most attention is Green Bay Packers quarterback Matt Flynn, who if it wasn’t for the potential available of Peyton Manning would be the top FA target for a number of teams.
Even with Manning’s presence, many teams will still be wooing Flynn to take a visit to their franchise. The Packers QB looked good in limited action late in the season, but it’s hard to tell just how he will perform.
The Texans scored big in their deal for Matt Schaub. The Chiefs have had middling results from Matt Cassel. Others teams have completely struck out like the Cardinals with Kevin Kolb, at least to this point. Aiming for a team’s back-up is a shot in the dark many times, and that’s why Jeffrey Chadiha calls Flynn the “scariest” free agent available. He writes:
This is the scariest free agent in this class. He’s the only quarterback with any serious clout — San Francisco already has decided to re-sign Alex Smith after his breakout season — and so much of his promise is based on the two games he’s ever started in the league. Recent history suggests caution is warranted. Cassel did a great job of replacing the injured Tom Brady during New England’s 2008 season, and he’s been only a mediocre starter in three years with the Chiefs. Kevin Kolb should’ve been a great deal for the Arizona Cardinals after his four years in Philadelphia (three behind Donovan McNabb and a fourth that involved his losing his job to Michael Vick), and he’s only generated more skepticism about his future after an inconsistent, injury-marred first season in Arizona. Please spare me all the talk about how well former Packers backups do once they become starters.
Aside from Aaron Rodgers, most of the evidence in that argument came from the 1990s (when old-timers like Mark Brunell, Matt Hasselbeck and Aaron Brooks were backing up Brett Favre). Flynn’s brightest moments came against a New England defense in 2010 that ranked 31st against the pass and a Detroit team this past season with an injury-riddled secondary. This isn’t to say Flynn won’t deliver when all those suitors come looking for a franchise quarterback. It’s just that he may not be the same hot prospect without the supporting cast he’s about to leave.
Flynn is likely to wind up in south Florida where he’ll partner up with a head coach in Joe Philbin who knows him well. However, if he goes to a new system with a new coach, it’s a toss up. Some teams need to do anything, however, to change their luck at the game’s most important position.