The Seahawks are no longer just concerned with being a playoff-caliber team. It's not enough to just win 9 or 10 (or even 11) games and get a Wild Card berth; as of the 2012 season we are in a death struggle for the NFC West crown with a team that has won 24 games over the past 2 seasons and shows no signs of slowing down. We now must go above and beyond if we truly want to be one of the best teams in the NFL, and and when your direct rival trades, what is essentially, a backup QB for (possibly) TWO 2nd-round picks, you must respond.
This does not mean I demand that the Seattle Seahawks copy every move that the San Francisco 49ers make, nor do I equate the value of Alex Smith exactly with that of Matt Flynn, as well as the situations with the Kansas City Chiefs with whatever team(s) might be interested in Flynn. I'm also not going to try to determine the exact value of a backup QB who might or might not see the field next year, and that's because there is no real "right or wrong" answer with a question loaded with so many variables.
Here's what we know: The Niners have agreed to trade Alex Smith to the Chiefs for a 2nd-round pick this year and conditional pick in 2014. That gives San Fran 15 picks in this year's draft, more than enough to make a HUUUUUGE trade. We also know that, even though he's just a year older than Flynn, Alex Smith has already played 80 games in the NFL -- and many of those games were played quite poorly -- and he has suffered more than a few injuries, including more than a few concussions. Matt Flynn may not have the yards or the touchdowns that Alex Smith has, but he also doesn't have the picks and the fumbles (and the medical history), either. And most everyone knows that the two biggest roadblocks to Flynn starting in the NFL has been Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson (who just threw for 26 TDs, something Alex Smith has never been close to doing).
But we know all about Alex Smith, and we certainly know enough about Matt Flynn, and I also know that the Seahawks will never get as much for Flynn as the Niners got for Smith. I'd prefer not to speculate who might want to trade for Flynn and what they might be willing to give up to acquire him -- there are more than enough posts that have discussed that in greater detail than I would like -- but the main contention I have to make here is that the Seahawks have to be mindful of what the 49ers are doing this offseason, because it's not enough just to keep pace with them.
One sentiment I've heard quite often the past few months is that the Seahawks should eschew making any big trades or free agent signings -- even with approximately $18 million in cap room -- because we've done such a good job of finding productive starters in the draft (as well as turning no-names like Chris Clemons and Brandon Browner into pro-bowlers). But finding another Richard Sherman or another Russell Wilson won't guarantee we'll overtake the Niners, and I just can't see Pete Carroll and John Schneider allowing an opportunity to improve this team slip through their fingers because of how much faith they have in the draft. Remember, this is still the same team that gave Matt Flynn a $26 or so million-dollar contract at the same time they were falling in love with a certain Wisconsin QB prospect. Last year Pete & John recognized the need we had at the QB position, and did what it took to avoid a second year with Tarvaris Jackson as our starter. I believe this team will continue looking at any and all opportunities, not just to build a foundation, but now to build an elite structure to put all others to shame.
It's not good enough to be "good enough" anymore.