GREEN BAY – Matt Flynn didn’t get the huge-money deal some thought he might on the free-agent market, which means the Green Bay Packers likely won’t fetch the maximum compensatory pick in the 2013 NFL Draft following his departure Sunday for the Seattle Seahawks.
Flynn received a three-year deal that included $10 million in guaranteed money and is worth between $19 million and $26 million, depending on if he plays well and earns incentives written into the deal, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Flynn goes to Seattle having started two regular-season NFL games and having thrown just 132 career regular-season passes. In the 2011 regular-season finale against Detroit on New Year’s Day, Flynn completed 31 of 44 passes for franchise records of 480 yards and six touchdowns in a 45-41 victory over the Lions. On Dec. 19, 2010, with starter Aaron Rodgers sidelined with a concussion and the Packers battling for a playoff spot, Flynn completed 24 of 37 passes for 251 yards with three touchdowns and one interception for a 100.2 passer rating in a loss at New England.
But those two performances, coupled with solid play in preseason action, weren’t enough to earn Flynn a megabucks deal, perhaps because the most recent backup to get a big-money deal – Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb – flopped last season with his new team.
For comparison, the ex-Philadelphia quarterback got a six-year, $65 million deal with $12 million guaranteed – and was paid another $7 million in a roster bonus on Friday – from the Cardinals after the team traded for him last offseason. The Cardinals gave up a second-round draft pick and cornerback Antonio Rodgers-Cromartie for Kolb, who had fallen behind Michael Vick on the Eagles’ depth chart after inheriting the starting job from Donovan McNabb.
Because the NFL does not explain how it doles out compensatory draft picks – the picks are awarded based on net losses in free agency and take into account the size of the contract of each free agent loss and that player’s level of performance with his new team – it’s hard to gauge just what the Packers will get in return next year. But given the size of Flynn’s deal, even if he plays well, the team likely won’t be awarded a pick at the end of the third round, which is the highest compensatory selection possible.
Had Flynn gotten a deal like Kolb did after his trade from Philadelphia and then played well for the Seahawks, the Packers likely would have been in line for a third-rounder.
Depending on if the Packers add anyone in free agency, they figure get a pick for Flynn and another for Pro Bowl center Scott Wells, who agreed to terms with the St. Louis Rams on a four-year, $24 million deal on Friday evening.
The Packers could also lose special teams ace and part-time nickel cornerback Jarrett Bush, who visited the New York Jets on Sunday, according to various reports. If Bush departed, he would give the Packers another compensatory pick in 2013, again assuming that Packers general manager Ted Thompson doesn’t sign an outside free agent of his own.
This year’s compensatory picks will be handed out at the annual NFL Meetings in Palm Beach, Fla., later this month, and the Packers could get as many as four compensatory selections after losing left guard Daryn Colledge, defensive end Cullen Jenkins, third-down running back Brandon Jackson and guard/center Jason Spitz in free agency last offseason. The Packers did not sign any free agents.
As ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert pointed out earlier Sunday, Flynn’s somewhat modest deal is further evidence that Thompson made the right call in not gambling with using the franchise tag on Flynn. The tag would have carried a $14.4 million one-year guaranteed salary, and Flynn’s guaranteed money in his three-year deal is well south of that. While some observers (including this one) thought Flynn might fetch a second-round pick in a trade the way Kolb or Kansas City’s Matt Cassell did in 2009, the fact that the Seahawks and Miami Dolphins never got into a bidding war for Flynn’s services make it highly unlikely that either team would have parted with a higher pick to acquire him if he had been tagged.
Seahawks GM John Schneider essentially said as much at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis last month, saying that giving up a draft pick for a new quarterback and signing him to a lucrative new contract could backfire if the player didn’t pan out.
“(With) the Kevin Kolb situation last year, we would have had to have given up more (picks) than Arizona did because they had a player that they were involved with (trading),” Schneider said. “You’d better be really sure that he’s the guy. Otherwise, it’s like a double-whammy – it’s the draft choices, and it’s cash.”
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