<
>

Division thoughts, including Flynn's future

John Clayton's latest mailbag covers subjects of interest in the NFC West.

Ken Whisenhunt, Colin Kaepernick and Alex Smith make appearances.

The mailbag closes with Clayton's thoughts on what Seattle could do with backup quarterback Matt Flynn after the season. Flynn earns $5.25 million in salary next season. That figure isn't high enough to force the team's hand or dissuade another team from acquiring Flynn as a potential starter. But its more than what backups typically earn, particularly given his $6.5 million average over the three-year life of the deal.

The situation might be different if starter Russell Wilson were earning what top starters typically earn. Wilson is scheduled to earn less than $600,000 in salary last season. The combined 2013 salary total for Wilson and Flynn is considerably less than the 2011 total Seattle carried for Charlie Whitehurst ($4 million) and Tarvaris Jackson ($4 million).

As a result, the Seahawks could maintain the status quo at the position if they wanted to do so. They could attempt to trade Flynn if they wanted value in return for a player no longer projecting as a starter. Seattle has already paid a $6 million bonus to Flynn. That bonus carries a $2 million cap charge in each year of the deal. Only the Seahawks would have to account for those charges if Flynn were traded. The acquiring team would be responsible for the $5.25 million and $6.25 million salaries in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

I'm not sure what the Seahawks would take in exchange for Flynn. Might a third- or fourth-rounder make such a deal worthwhile? I don't know the answer to that question. The scarcity of available quarterbacks and the Seahawks' ability to carry Flynn on their roster without financial hardship lets the team consider options on its terms.