With Jermichael Finley locked up for the next two years, the question now is whether the Green Bay Packers will designate Matt Flynn as their franchise player.
The Packers opened the option to tag and trade Flynn rather than let the backup quarterback leave the team in free agency when they reached agreement on a two-year, $14 million contract with tight end Jermichael Finley on Wednesday.
But if General Manager Ted Thompson tags Flynn, he’ll have to take on the risk that if Flynn doesn’t work out a contract with a new team, the Packers will be stuck paying him the $14.4 million franchise tender. Tagging Flynn also would mean bucking the NFL, which discourages using the tag as only a vehicle for a trade.
Still, the tag is looking like a real possibility. A front-office executive for an NFL team said the league doesn’t discourage tag-and-trade strongly enough to prevent the Packers from doing it with Flynn if they think it’s their best move. Another NFL scout said he thinks some team will trade a decent draft pick and pay Flynn a good enough contract to swing the deal, even though the quarterback has started only two NFL games.
“I definitely think he’s going to get paid; he’s going to get paid like a franchise guy,” the scout said. “He’s had two really good bodies of work (i.e., games) when he’s been called on, against good teams.”
The Packers have until March 5 to decide whether to designate Flynn their franchise player, and Thompson and his top scouts no doubt are talking with teams at the NFL scouting combine this week to gauge interest. Among the most obvious teams looking for a starting quarterback are Miami, Seattle, Washington, Arizona and Cleveland. Other teams that can’t be ruled out are San Francisco, Denver and the New York Jets, who might be looking for competition for their starting quarterbacks, though they also might be less inclined to invest big money for that competition.
This is an interesting situation to watch because if the Packers do franchise Flynn, it may have an impact on where he eventually lands. Quality QB play is such a commodity in the NFL that the chances are high that a team in need will give the Packers a good pick. He doesn't have a wealth of experience, but has played very well when given the opportunity.