5

March

Packers Elect Not to Franchise Tag Free Agent QB Matt Flynn

The Packers decided against franchise-tagging Matt Flynn Monday.

Packers quarterback Matt Flynn will be free to sign with whichever team he so chooses this spring after the NFL’s franchise tag deadline passed Monday without GM Ted Thompson slapping the $14.4 million tender on the 27-year-old backup.

Instead of taking the risk of tagging Flynn and then trading him to a quarterback-needy team, the Packers have decided to play it safe and let Flynn become an unrestricted free agent on March 13. Depending on how a number of factors play out, the Packers could receive a third-round compensatory pick in next year’s draft for letting Flynn walk.

Early opinions following the re-signing of tight end Jermichael Finley to kickoff the NFL Combine were that the Packers would tag Flynn and find a trade partner, which potentially could have landed a first- or second-round pick in exchange. As the process wore on, however, it appeared less and less likely that the Packers would go down that route.

The Packers certainly did their due diligence to investigate whether the tag-and-trade route would benefit the franchise, but the risk of getting stuck with a $14.4 million backup outweighed the potential of acquiring a top pick in the 2012 NFL draft. Starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers makes more than $6 million less than the quarterback franchise tender.

The Packers also would have been forced to make salary cap room to take on a $14.4 million salary, whether they had a handshake trade partner lined up or not. There were ways to accomplish that, but the Packers are obviously in no hurry to make decisions on veterans Chad Clifton and Donald Driver.

The uncertainity surrounding Peyton Manning also could have played a role, as teams such as the Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins—leading candidates to sign Flynn in free agency—likely want a chance to survey whether signing Manning once he’s released on March 8 is a better route than the unproven Flynn.

Flynn has started two games over the last two seasons, with impressive performances in each laying the framework for the interest in Flynn this offseason.

On the road against the Patriots in 2010, Flynn threw for 251 yards and three touchdowns in a close loss. Then on New Year’s Day against the Lions this past season, Flynn broke franchise records for passing yards (480) and passing touchdowns (six). He has a career passer rating of 92.8.

An early list of teams that might have an interest in Flynn once free agency opens on March 13 are the Dolphins, Redskins, Cleveland Browns and Seattle Seahawks.

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Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.

You can read more of Zach's Packers articles on AllGreenBayPackers.com.

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8 Responses to “Packers Elect Not to Franchise Tag Free Agent QB Matt Flynn”

  1. Mojo says:

    Yup, at 14+ mil. it is way to risky to tag Flynn. If Flynn ended up with GB after being tagged the Pack would lose a ton of maneuverability. I thought that after TT signed Finley he might be going for it, but the risk-reward equilibrium was too askew for Ted to after it unless he could really trust both Flynn and another third party team. With Manning expected to be on the market, it would have been very nerve wracking waiting for the behind the scene deal to become official. I don’t fault Ted for backing off.

    Also, since Flynn is likely to get a decent contract (probably higher than A-Rod’s current deal), the Pack make-out. I believe that’s one of the main factors in deciding where the compensatory pick falls (Although I can see A-Rod pointing out to the Pack brass; “um, why is my former back-up making more than me”).

    All-in-all not a bad return on a seventh round pick. If it weren’t for such a high tag $ amount, I think Ted would have seriously considered it.

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    • Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes says:

      I think fans would like to see the Packers get maximal value for what is seen as a hot commodity, but I think Thompson did the sensible thing and play it safe. I’d also bet that if you were the GM, you’d probably do exactly the same thing

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  2. Ron LC says:

    With the teams most interested in QB’s either looking at a Manning shot or trading for the #2 pick and getting III. The remainder feel they can get Flynn without sacraficing a pick. Hence, as I felt all along, franchising Flynn would never, ever happen. Flynn’s agent would never let him go somewhere by trade at less than he’ll get on the open market.

    Matt will get the big bucks and we’ll all see how really good he is. Good Luck Matt! Thanks for being a real Packer.

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    • Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes says:

      Do agents have the ability to officially tank the tag and trade? My assumption is that Flynn’s contract has no stipulations against tagging him or trading him, so the only threat that Flynn’s side could make is to not work on a long term deal with the new team, obviously that would make some teams gun shy, but for instance if the Dolphins traded for him, I’m sure Flynn has a good enough rapport with Philbin that he’d go through with it.

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  3. Zack says:

    It would have been nice if we could have got a little bit more for him but if the stars did not align you can’t force something that’s not there… Can’t really argue with proven expertise in this case.

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    • Zack says:

      Yeah the more I think about it the more I think it would have been a bad move. I mean, if the deal would have fallen through then we would have been at the mercy of other teams to make a deal… potentially getting less than the compensatory pick that we get for him now. If we had planned a sign and trade and the other side backed out we would have had to trade him for next to nothing just to not pay the 14mil… that number would completely hand cuff us this off season. Smart business TT. Now restructure some of our overpaid players so you have more wiggle room to bring in at least one or 2 studs on defense…

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  4. SchenySchen says:

    Think of it this way, the extra 3rd rounder for Flynn, and maybe another 3rd from Wells (I hope not) will come in handy next year when we are looking for more secondary help and another running back. GoPack!

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