It was absolutely sick what Matt Flynn did to the Detroit Lions in the snow globe conditions at Lambeau Field Sunday. In fact, it was sick what both Flynn and Matthew Stafford did in snowy, windswept Lambeau Field.
Matt Flynn, Matthew Stafford Have Record-Setting Day in Lambeau
By throwing for 520 yards in a losing effort, Stafford became the third NFL QB to throw for 5,000 yards this year, joining Drew Brees and Tom Brady. Those three could be joined by Eli Manning if he throws for 413 yards for the Giants v. the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football.
Flynn threw for 480 yards and six touchdowns, BOTH GREEN BAY TEAM RECORDS. Absolutely amazing how he put his name in the Packers record books considering virtually all the games started in the last 20 years (315 games) were either by a guy named Favre or Rodgers.
That’s two QB’s, exactly 1,000 yards passing (a record-breaking 971 yards net) – and you thought Baylor v. Washington marked the end of the Mayan calendar.
And, despite resting several regulars besides Rodgers, the Packers succeeded in beating the Lions at home for a 20th consecutive year.
Not long ago, I actually felt sorry for Detroit. Now, however, I have little sympathy for the Lions and their already tired, arrogant act. I’m looking forward to Detroit’s winless streak in the state of Wisconsin reaching the point that Rodgers will soon be throwing to receivers who were not even born when Mel Gray went off way back in 1991.
Matt Flynn (Re)Emerges…What Now?
It turns out the loss in Kansas City a couple weeks back was not the worst thing in the world to happen. Had the Pack gone into Week 17 at 15-0, Mike McCarthy would have almost been forced to start #12. This way, Matt Flynn got some very valuable playing time – and if by some off-chance Aaron were to go down during the playoffs, it is now known (and GB already knew) that there is a more than capable man waiting in relief. As Don Majkowski was a one-year wonder in 1989, Flynn is a one-game wonder (two if you count last year’s game against New England), and at the present time a better insurance policy than Rodgers could ever get from State Farm.
And to emphasize again, this was not back in the dome in Detroit, or even on a halfway mild day like most of December was in Sconnie. It was like winter suddenly realized that the calendar just turned to January, with Packer Weather – complete with high winds – finally making an appearance.
But Flynn was SO good Sunday that not only did he ultimately make himself a lot of money, but also raised a couple questions not even thinkable even after a couple of Cherry Bombs at a New Year’s Eve party 24 hours earlier…
- Is Flynn now franchise tag material? He would still eventually be shipped out of Green Bay, but not before being flipped for first-round draft choices.
- Or, if the Packers repeat as Super Bowl Champions – and with his value being at it’s absolute peak, could Ted Thompson trade Aaron Rodgers and make Flynn the 2012 starter? They could even find an organization (Dan Snyder/Redskins?) desperate enough to pull a Mike Ditka and TRADE AN ENTIRE DRAFT.
I’ll address option #2 first. If you think Rodgers is going anywhere, you are still cycling down from the New Year’s cocktails. Hypothetically, if Rodgers went down in a playoff game and GB won the Super Bowl with Flynn, then I might dare say a QB controversy would surface, and even then Rodgers is likely still the man. But then who thought Peyton Manning’s future would be questioned 12 months ago…
As for placing the franchise tag on Flynn, there is too much of a $$$ risk. Under the new CBA, Flynn could be tendered as a non-exclusive franchise player and be offered the average salary of the five highest-salaried QBs over the past five years. The Packers would have a right to match any contract offer by other teams, or refuse and get two first-round draft picks in return. The downside is that if there are no takers the Packers are ‘stuck’ paying a #2 quarterback $15 million in 2012 (higher salary than Rodgers). In addition the franchise tag would not then be available for TE Jermichael Finley and he would likely walk.
Top 12 Potential Free Agent Destinations for Matt Flynn
Barring the above two unlikely scenarios playing out, Matt Flynn will get his starting shot somewhere else in 2012, and he is suddenly the hottest commodity on the free agent market. Here are the top-ten (actually top 12) landing spots as I see it if Flynn is an unrestricted free agent this offseason:
Is Matt Flynn better long-term than Tim Tebow? You can definitely make that argument. But John Fox and John Elway are all-in on the Tebow experiment for all of 2012. If Tebow doesn’t make a leap next year, then they will be more in the QB market in 2013; but they will sit this year out.
9. Miami/Tampa Bay/Jacksonville
I throw the entire state of Florida in as a package, as all three will be undergoing major overhauls and likely all three with new coaches. Of the three, I only see the Dolphins as a halfway attractive opportunity that Flynn would actually be interested in, and vice versa.
Seeing Flynn go to the purple early in his career would be far worse than seeing Favre wind up there in his dying years. Despite a 3-13 record, some pieces would be in place with Adrian Peterson, Jared Allen, and a #3 overall draft pick on board. But the Vikes are one of many teams who are already committed with a high 2011 first-round pick (Christian Ponder) so I don’t see the Twin Cities as a landing spot.
It is known that Jake Locker is a project, not unlike Tim Tebow. But it’s unlikely that the Titans will pull the plug just one year after making Locker a #8 overall pick.
6. Kansas City
The Chiefs got a good test drive with Kyle Orton and found out what the Broncos and Bears already know: nice QB, but not enough to get them to the next level. There is no dominant team in the AFC West and Dwayne Bowe is a nice #1 target.
5. New York Jets
One of these days this franchise and its fans will finally realize that Mark Sanchez is the NFL’s answer to Ryan Howard. The question is whether the organization will come to their senses this year and look into Flynn. The Jets would be a possibility considering the team is still a contender, and the fan base is demanding to the point that NY might be a player.
The Browns do not have that much invested In Colt McCoy, who also has a concussion history dating back to his Texas Longhorn days. Mike Holmgren, and the organization in general, has to make the big splash one of these off-seasons.
I could even put the ‘Skins as the #1 landing spot, especially if Flynn is attracted to the bright lights of the NFC East. The team may be a couple years away, but you know Dan Snyder will spend the cash.
Wouldn’t be the first Green Bay understudy to eventually migrate to the Pacific Northwest – and Flynn’s name was trending in Seattle on Twitter at the peak of Sunday’s game. The Seahawks have not been bad hovering around .500 the past two years with Pete Carroll, and they definitely have a glaring QB need.
Signing Kevin Kolb for 6 years/$65 million ($21 million+ guaranteed) was a bad move from the minute the Cards made the move minutes after the end of the NFL lockout. Even with John Skelton at QB, Arizona rallied to finish with an 8-8 record. Flynn could be close to what the franchise had with Kurt Warner a couple years back. The Cards should cut bait with Kolb as soon as they can. If they can do it in a way that makes financial sense this offseason, Flynn would be a better investment and instantly make Arizona instantly a player again in the NFC West.