Seahawks nearing deal to trade Matt Flynn to Raiders
Flynn could be the Raiders' starter next year, while the Seahawks would be left without a backup quarterback.
Seattle Times staff reporter
The Seahawks may give Matt Flynn another chance to be a starting quarterback after all.
Only this time, that chance would come in Oakland.
The Seahawks are nearing an agreement to trade their backup quarterback to the Raiders. There was no announcement nor confirmation from either team, and the deal may not be finalized until next week, but the NFL Network reported Seattle had agreed to draft-pick compensation. Those pick(s), however, might not be until future years.
Seattle signed Flynn, 27, a year ago when he was an unrestricted free agent, giving him a three-year contract and an opportunity to compete for the starting job. Russell Wilson won that job, though, putting Flynn back in the position he has been for much of his career: backup.
He filled that role at Louisiana State behind JaMarcus Russell, who would become the No. 1 pick in the draft. A seventh-round choice coming out of college, Flynn spent four seasons behind Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. Flynn twice started in place of an injured Rodgers, throwing for 731 yards and nine touchdowns.
When Seattle signed him, most expected Flynn to become the team's starter, including Mike McCarthy, who coached Flynn for four years in Green Bay and had gone so far as comparing him to Rich Gannon, a former NFL MVP. Wilson won Seattle's starting job after he started the third exhibition game in Kansas City, a game Flynn could not play because of a sore elbow. Flynn did not throw his first regular-season pass for the Seahawks until December, when he played the second half of a blowout victory against Arizona.
Wilson's selection as the starter remained a source of debate early in the season, but after Seattle ended the season with five consecutive victories and stood 30 seconds from winning a second consecutive road playoff game, it was clear Flynn's only chance at playing in Seattle would come if Wilson were injured.
Seattle general manager John Schneider had said Seattle expected to keep Flynn through 2013, but he never denied the team was listening to offers.
The opportunity in Oakland emerged as the Raiders prepare to part ways with Carson Palmer, who is scheduled to make $13 million in 2013. Oakland wanted him to accept a pay cut to remain on the team.
Receiver Doug Baldwin offered his congratulations to Flynn about the new opportunity in Oakland via Twitter, but later indicated that it was premature with nothing official.
While it's pretty clear where Flynn is headed, two questions remain:
1) What did Seattle get?
The Raiders hold only three picks in the first five rounds of this year's draft. Oakland has traded its second-round pick and given up its fifth-round choice to acquire linebacker Aaron Curry from Seattle two years ago. It's possible the two teams could swap third-round picks this year with Oakland providing an additional pick next year.
2) What will Seattle do for a backup?
Wilson will be the only quarterback on the team's roster after the deal. Josh Portis, Seattle's No. 3 quarterback in 2011, was released from the practice squad last year and is now with Toronto in the Canadian Football League. One player to keep an eye on: Colt McCoy. He's on the Browns' roster but may become available. Tyler Thigpen is another quarterback with NFL experience who is currently on the market.
Flynn was scheduled to earn $5.25 million in salary this season, and dealing him will result in salary-cap savings of $3.25 million this year.
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @dannyoneil