Until Peyton Manning was definitely tabbed to be released by the Colts, Matt Flynn was the short-lived No. 1 free agent quarterback on the market heading into the offseason. Flynn on Sunday agreed to a three-year, $26 million contract with the Seattle Seahawks, with $10 million guaranteed, after the Miami Dolphins declined to approach those financial terms. It’s a solid deal that is not outrageous and makes Flynn earn what he has not proven yet.
The Seahawks have built a nice all-around roster under Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider, but QB was the one gaping hole. Tarvaris Jackson was certainly not the answer, as he wears the look of a journeyman backup. There were rumors of Alex Smith going to Seattle, but Smith’s history dictates that could have been a very risky experiment. Smith finally played well this past season, but could easily implode in another system and without Jim Harbaugh watching over him.
Flynn is an accurate passer with good poise. He reads defenses well and will have a quality, not spectacular receiving corps in Seattle. He can work well with big targets such as Sidney Rice and Mike Williams, and Golden Tate started showing real promise late last year. Ben Obomanu offers solid depth and Deon Butler is a sleeper with some upside. Doug Baldwin is a very good slot receiver as well. Flynn reminds me of another ex-Packer turned Seahawk, Matt Hasselbeck. After coming over to Seattle following a short reign as Brett Favre’s backup, Hasselbeck turned out to be the most consistently successful QB in franchise history.
Flynn may be very inconsistent in his first year as a starter. There will certainly be bumpy spots as he plays a full projected schedule for the first time in his career. He will need to refine his mechanics and pocket presence. But he is an instant upgrade over Jackson, and is the missing piece to take the team into the postseason again. Carroll may publicly declare open competition between Jackson and Flynn, but I will just about guarantee there is no way Jackson wins the job this year.
The Dolphins whiffed again on a potential starting QB, and it appears no one of real note wants to mess with the jinx that has resided over the position in Miami since Dan Marino retired. South Florida sports fans may not deserve a Peyton Manning or Flynn, anyway. They are fair-weather types who aggressively attack other fans and need to shut up about 1972 already. Half of the fan base who brag about it never saw it happen.
Alright, I veered into personal territory there for a minute. I do not like South Florida sports fans. Back on the analytical path, all that seems to be left now for Miami is to court the damaged comeback candidate, David Garrard, or wait for the Peyton Manning fallout and catch the leftovers. That could mean a shot at Smith, who could easily return to the form that made him a major bust prior to last year, or Hasselbeck, who will likely be cast out if Manning lands in Tennessee.
Of course, the situation could also work out respectably for the Dolphins in the end. Sticking with Matt Moore could prove to be a quality move. And if Manning chooses Denver, could we somehow see Tim Tebow back in Florida? That would be a very compelling end to this quarterback domino game.
And it all may not end in free agency, either. The Seahawks could still draft a QB for the future after the first round as insurance in case the Flynn experiment fails. Miami could also somehow find a way to trade up for a QB.
For the Seahawks, though, it sure beats the hell out of Charlie Whitehurst as an alternative. In Miami, they should hope Josh Johnson stays healthy, because he is clearly the best thrower in South Florida. Not that anyone will flock to the new ballpark, anyway.