Among the quarterbacks currently slated to become free agents in the upcoming offseason, Matt Flynn stands above all.*
But that goes to show how quickly a quarterback can become a hot commodity in this pivot-hungry league, because Flynn, who was the 209th selection of the 2008 draft, has just two career starts under his belt.
Give him credit for immense success despite the small sample size. He’s thrown just 132 passes, but he’s completed 62 percent of them. He’s got a 9-to-5 touchdown-to-interception ratio, a 7.7 yards-per-attempt average and a 92.8 passer rating. He also sent shockwaves through the league with a 480-yard, six-touchdown performance in this year’s season finale against Detroit.
That’s enough to move him ahead of guys like Kyle Orton, Jason Campbell and David Garrard on the list of available signal callers in a quarterback-needy league.
Two teams will likely fill their QB voids with Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III early in the draft, but that’ll leave half a dozen teams (if they don’t trade up, I’m thinking of teams like Washington, Buffalo, Kansas City, Seattle, Arizona, Oakland and maybe even Denver) still searching for a franchise QB.
But the Cardinals are listed above for the same reason that I’m worried about anyone selling the farm for Flynn. Arizona gave Kevin Kolb a long-term deal last offseason worth something like $800 million.** But Kolb fell flat on his face in Glendale, completing fewer than 60 percent of his passes and posting a passer rating of just 81.1 in his first year as an NFL starter.
With Kolb at quarterback, the Cardinals were 2-6. With backup John Skelton under center, they were 6-2.
So you wonder if some teams will be apprehensive about giving Flynn a big payday, considering the similarities between him and Kolb.
Both experienced success in limited fashion as somewhat mysterious backups in quarterback-friendly west-coast offenses featuring tremendous supporting casts. There’s evidence that Philadelphia and Green Bay are quarterback factories — but just because they manufacture them doesn’t mean they’ll work without factory settings elsewhere. And there’s not even a limited warranty in these cases.
Former NFL general manager and current CBS insider/analyst Charley Casserly fears Flynn might only flourish in the appropriate system.
“I think [Flynn] in this system he plays in is really good. So Cleveland, Seattle, if Joe Philbin ends up with a head job in Miami.” Casserly told “The Sports Junkies” on 106.7 The Fan in DC. “I’m not sure if it’s exactly the same thing the Redskins want in their same system.”
“I’m not sure if everything they’re doing right now is some of the things he’s good at,” he added. In other words, he isn’t reliable throwing the deep ball.
It’s easy to get excited about what Flynn did to Detroit on New Year’s Day, but that was with one of the best offenses in the league and against a terrible secondary. The guy was a seventh-round pick for a reason, and it should take more than that performance to convince a desperate team that he deserves elite money.
* Free-agent-to-be Drew Brees will inevitably receive the franchise tag in New Orleans and Alex Smith is not expected to hit free agency either.
** This number is fictitious and exaggerated. Thanks for being down, Wikipedia.