Still unknown is how Ted Thompson will allocate the franchise tag, a long-term contract and a wave farewell to pending free agents Jermichael Finley, Scott Wells and Matt Flynn. Flynn’s performance in Week 17 against the Lions has Thompson reevaluating any predetermined personnel moves he had been planning. One factor Thompson doesn’t need to consider when performing his analysis: the existence of a free agent market for Flynn.
In analyzing the market for Flynn, I separate potential buyers into groups based on their apparent need at quarterback. There appear to be three types of QB-needy teams this offseason: the desperate, the contemplating and the indecisive. While the teams listed in the third category may come off as long shots, their influence on the flow of rookie and free agent quarterbacks should not be disregarded.
Rex Grossman’s status as a savior in D.C. lasted roughly a month before Redskins upper management accepted the reality that their search for a franchise quarterback would extend past 2011. Years removed from their last elite passer, it’s safe to say that Daniel Snyder and the Redskins organization have entered desperation mode when it comes to the quarterback situation.
Things aren’t much prettier in Seattle where Tarvaris Jackson gave GM Jon Schneider basically what he paid for: nearly as many interceptions as touchdowns. Given Schneider’s history in Green Bay, the possibility of Flynn to Seattle makes some sense. One could argue that the only thing keeping the Seahawks from the postseason this year was effective play from the quarterback position.
Matt Moore figures to be a part the offensive equation in Miami next season, thanks to his second half success in 2011. However, I don’t expect that to be a showstopper when the Dolphins investigate other options at quarterback in the offseason. I’m not sure how well Flynn would fit into the Dolphins’ system, but at the minimum he could serve as a game manager around the Fins’ strong running game.
Browns management has made it clear that Colt McCoy will face an open quarterback competition when training camp rolls around in July. To me, that sounds like Cleveland will be adding a quarterback in the offseason – and a high-profile QB at that. While Cleveland seems like an intriguing landing spot for Flynn, I think it could come down to the organization’s interest in Robert Griffin.
Both Washington and Seattle must respect the real possibility of Cleveland snagging Robert Griffin with the fourth overall pick in the draft. The unlikelihood that Griffin falls to either team’s pick could cause one of the two to pull the trigger on Flynn one month earlier in free agency. At the same time, the Browns have the picks to land Flynn, holding the Falcons’ 2012 first round pick in addition to the fourth overall.
Two years of mediocrity in the passing game have Jets and Bucs reconsidering their commitment to “franchise” quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Josh Freeman. In Denver, John Elway maintains foggy endorsement of Tim Tebow. All three QB situations are likely to produce speculative draft picks rather than free agency moves, but such scenarios impact the decisions made by other QB-needy teams.
Of course, the above commentary hardly matters for the Packers unless Thompson exercises his one franchise tag on Matt Flynn. By now, the expectation in Green Bay is that the Packers will at least receive a compensatory pick for Flynn, probably of the third round variety. Could the expanding free agent market for Flynn impact Thompson’s decision with regards to the franchise tag? I wouldn’t doubt it.