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.