We don't need a fresh scouting report on Matt Flynn, since it's been and gone. Part I, part II, part III and part IV of my 8000-word scouting report are still available, and nothing has changed since I penned them. For those coming to Field Gulls looking for scouting and conclusions, I advise you to click part IV and scroll down a bit.
My conclusion, based purely on the footage available and what we know of our FO's preferences, was that Flynn did not fit in perfectly with the Charlie Whitehurst/ Tarvaris Jackson/ Josh Portis mold. A lack of athletic (and general) upside meant our FO wasn't willing to throw buckets of money at Flynn. He's mobile but not outstandingly so, he has a decent arm but pretty consistent problems with pushing the ball deep, his main strength comes from his ability to read defenses and lead the offense both pre- and post-snap.
The Seahawks have now signed him, to a 3-year, up to $26 million, $10 million guaranteed contract. That is very low-end money for a presumptive NFL starter. By comparison, Kevin Kolb had a 6-year, $65 million, $21 million guaranteed contract. I would have been both surprised and disappointed if the Seahawks had spent a lot of money on Flynn, but this contract is really, really good from the team's perspective. In the NFL, guaranteed money is everything, and $10 million, even over 3 years, is not a lot. It'll be interesting to learn more of the contract structure later, and how much of it is incentive-based. Packers beat writer Tom Silverstein reports the total value comes down to $19 in base salary, $5 million in incentives.
The Dolphins were reportedly close to signing him, but their awful off-season continues as he picked the Seahawks instead. Was this about money, or a better situation? We can't really tell from the outside looking in, but the Seahawks contract is a pretty easy one to beat, so if I'd have to guess, I'd say Flynn simply preferred the situation here. I can't blame him.
What's next for us? I don't doubt Pete Carroll will declare a competition between Tarvaris and Matt coming into camp. Will it be a true competition or just lip service? There's really no way of being 100% sure. Personally, I believe Tarvaris being the current starter and having years of experience with Bevell at least gives him enough credit to have a real competition going into camp. Tarvaris being declared the starter last year was kind of forced due to the shortened off-season, and I don't think it applies here.
Why? Well, we only have two games where Flynn started. That's not a lot to go on. In fact, from a risk perspective, he's not that far beyond the likes of Charlie Whitehurst, though the investment is a lot different. Our FO knows this, that's why he's not being paid a lot, but it does mean he will have to prove himself to them during this off-season, rather than just being handed the keys. There simply isn't enough to go on to just name him the starter outright. The risk and information level is more similar to that of a rookie draft pick than your usual veteran signing.
That said, I do expect Flynn to win pretty easily. Bevell runs an offense that is not that dissimilar from what he's used to, or what the Dolphins will likely run. There are differences, but not to the extent where adjustments can't be made and Flynn can't easily step in. From my own "scouting", I do believe Flynn is a better quarterback than Tarvaris. He may not look better out of pads early in the off-season, but once it's game-time, I definitely prefer his poise and precision to Tarvaris' many blind spots. Flynn's arm strength and accuracy only improved in his time with the NFL, which is one of the major factors that made him worth more than the 7th round pick he was once worth.
The happiest person on the Seahawks roster should be Mike Williams. Where Tarvaris had no clue how to use him, on paper Williams and Flynn are the perfect combination. Williams does have terrible burst and short-area quickness, but Flynn is able to buy time in the pocket, and is more than willing to thread the needle to get the ball to the big guy. I would expect a much better your from BMW with Flynn under center.
On the long term, is Matt Flynn a franchise quarterback type-guy? Honestly, I'd have to say no, I don't expect him to be, and his contract reflects that. He is a low-to-mid-end starter and high-end bridge guy, with a lot of risk because we have such limited game tape on him. He does remind me of Matt Hasselbeck in some ways, and his upside would be about the level of Matt Hasselbeck at his prime. But how likely is he to hit this upside? I have no idea, but I wouldn't bank on it. And neither did the Seahawks.
At the least, he should be a good bridge guy. To what? One would now expect our high picks to be focused on defense. Flynn should be good enough to at least enable us to push the QB problem a little farther ahead. That said, if you pick a QB at #12 now, under the current CBA, he would make only about 4 years, $10 million, fully guaranteed (this is what Christian Ponder got), so there's not much stopping the FO from pulling the trigger on this if they like the opportunity. A late-round investment in a QB seems more likely, though. Once we have more to go on with Flynn, further decisions can be made on our QB need.
Flynn will be wearing #15. Doug Baldwin will go back to his college numbers, #89.