The Green Bay Packers rang in 2012 with one of the best statistical performances by anyone that has ever worn green and gold, yet it came from a player that made just two career starts for the franchise.
That player, who was on his third team in three years, was just cut by the Oakland Raiders, according to Jim Trotter of SI.com, after being demoted to third string behind Terrelle Pryor and Matt McGloin.
With a perfect record no longer attainable, the 14-1 Packers handed the starting quarterback reins for one game to fourth-year quarterback and 2008 seventh-round draft pick Matt Flynn. Flynn had played well in his only start a season prior (24-of-37 for 251 yards and three touchdowns in a loss to New England) when he was pressed into duty thanks to an Aaron Rodgers concussion. The start on January 1, 2012 would serve a number of purposes: ensure Rodgers’ health for the playoffs and give Flynn a shot to showcase his abilities in the last regular-season game of his rookie contract.
Flynn responded by throwing for 480 yards and six touchdown passes – both Packers records – in a 45-41 win over Detroit in Week 17.
In need of a proven quarterback that March, the Seattle Seahawks shelled out $19.5 million dollars for Flynn, with $10 million of that guaranteed. And in a well-known turn of events, Seattle also drafted Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson in the third round. Wilson ended up winning the starting gig and Flynn threw just nine passes as a member of the Seahawks.
Flynn was then traded to Oakland for a fifth-round draft pick this past offseason, after which he restructured his contract to span just two years, but still at a value of $11.5 million.
When you calculate what he’s actually earned off of those contracts, thanks to guarantees and restructured signing bonuses and the like, Flynn has hauled in $14.5 million dollars, according to Yahoo! Finance.
After beating out second-round pick Brian Brohm in training camp in 2008, Matt Flynn signed his four-year rookie deal with the Packers, valued at $1.769 million, including a $64,175 signing bonus.
That means Flynn has made over eight times more in the season-plus he has been away from Green Bay than the four years he spent with the Packers. He has made $14.5 million largely off the back of one stellar performance.
So how stellar exactly was it?
For starters, each yard and touchdown were critical, given the fact that it was a back and forth game that Green Bay ended up winning by four points. His touchdown passes came from varying distances (four yards, seven, 35, 36, 58, 80) with four different players catching touchdowns. He also hit the 480-yard mark on just 31 completions (in 44 attempts), good for an average of 10.9 yards per attempt. Granted Flynn’s average comes on a very small sample size, but only one player averaged more than nine yards per attempt for that 2011 season, that would be Aaron Rodgers at 9.25 YPA.
So was each of those 480 passing yards really worth $30,208? Did each touchdown really earn him $2.4 million dollars over the next season-plus?
Well, not technically, no.
But don’t tell Flynn that. If he never signs with another team for as long as he lives, that beautiful New Year’s Day game 22 months ago set Flynn up for the rest of his life.