Sunday, March 18, 2012
Flynn solves Seattle's QB issue, for now
By Mike Sando
Forget about Alex Smith paying a free-agent visit to the Seattle Seahawks.
The Seahawks' contract agreement with Matt Flynn, announced by the team, largely solves the team's quarterback search for at least the 2012 season. The pressure to draft a quarterback early is now gone.
Seattle can go into the season with Flynn and Tarvaris Jackson as its veteran options. The length of the contract, three years, is shorter than what a franchise quarterback would command. But the potential value of the deal -- $26 million overall -- gives Flynn a giant opportunity to distinguish himself as one. He's most likely going to be the starter heading into the upcoming season, in other words.
The Seahawks' general manager, John Schneider, was with the Packers when Green Bay drafted Flynn. There was never any indication Seattle pursued a trade for Flynn when looking for quarterbacks a year ago, however. That tells me Flynn made a strong positive impression with the Seahawks during his recent visit, firming up the impression he made in limited on-field opportunities with Green Bay.
The agreement with Flynn leaves one fewer opportunity for Smith as the 49ers continue their pursuit of Peyton Manning. Smith visited the Dolphins, who also showed interest in Flynn. But Miami has so far shown very little ability to land its preferred candidates for important roles, having lost Jim Harbaugh and Jeff Fisher to NFC West teams, and having been scratched off Manning's list, as well.
Seattle needed to address the quarterback position in some manner. Manning rebuffed its efforts to pursue him. Stronger-than-expected finishes over the past two seasons also prevented Seattle from drafting early enough for a realistic shot at the top quarterback prospects. And when the team did have an opportunity to select a promising quarterback in Andy Dalton, coach Pete Carroll sought help for his offensive line instead.
Enter Flynn, who becomes the latest veteran quarterback with an opportunity to start in Seattle. Carroll and Schneider acquired Charlie Whitehurst in 2010, but that did not work out. Whitehurst hit the free-agent market last week and signed with San Diego over the weekend. The Seahawks brought in Jackson last offseason, emphasizing the quarterback's ties to their new offensive coordinator, Darrell Bevell.
Jackson was OK, but the team had trouble rallying late in games. A pectoral injury also affected Jackson's ability to deliver the ball.
Flynn, meanwhile, comes to Seattle after completing 31 of 44 passes for 480 yards with six touchdowns and one interception in the Packers' regular-season finale against Detroit. A year earlier, he passed for three touchdowns and nearly led Green Bay to victory at New England. Those two starts showed Flynn could produce when given a chance. Can he do so over the course of a season? The Seahawks will find out.