Editor’s note: This is a format where frequent contributors to the comments section of the Seahawks Insider blog are offered a forum to voice their opinion on a specific topic of choice involving the Seahawks. Submissions are read and edited beforehand.
This is the second of four pieces where Bob Kaupang offers his opinion on the quarterback options for the Seahawks.
By Bob Kaupang
Why would anyone want to take a big chance on a quarterback that scouts thought was only worth a seventh round pick and has since only started two games in a four year NFL career?
There’s a difference between taking a chance on someone at or near the league minimum and signing somebody who will make around $10 million per season. Such is the great debate with respect to signing Green Bay free agent quarterback Matt Flynn.
I believe the Seattle Seahawks should make every effort to sign Flynn when free agency begins on March 13.
First of all, if you look at his scouting report coming out of college, you will see that some of his weaknesses, according to NFL scouts, have turned into strengths. For example, his arm strength was questioned coming out of college, but now the consensus seems to be that it’s improved to the point where it is above average and considered a strength, not a liability.
Two NFL starts is not enough to judge if someone is going to be a franchise quarterback. However, those two starts were impressive. I don’t think anyone can deny that fact.
More important than two NFL starts are reports that he is the type of guy who is consistently impressive at practice, confident, poised, a hard worker, natural leader, etc.
It also doesn’t hurt when your Super Bowl winning coach says that, “Based on what I see in the everyday classroom, practice field, he’s ready.” Mike McCarthy isn’t going to throw a player under the bus, but these are the type of reports that we keep hearing about Flynn over and over again and they are quite positive.
If NFL teams were able to conduct a redraft of 2008, you know very well that there’s no way Flynn would last until the seventh round. Just because he was a late round draft pick, doesn’t mean that’s how we should view him today.
When forming an opinion of Matt Flynn, I think we can think of Doug Baldwin, too. He wasn’t even drafted last year. After an impressive training camp and one NFL start, I think Seahawk fans knew he was going to be a decent player moving forward (but not as good as he became).
You can also bet that after week one of the NFL season that some teams would have drafted him, if there could have been a redraft, as opposed to passing on him every time their turn came to choose another player. Even though it had only been training camp and one real game, I think some opinions had changed, and for good reason. Basically, still thinking in terms of Flynn as a seventh round pick is foolish.
Another knock against Flynn is that he didn’t play until his senior season at LSU. Well, I don’t know of too many players who are going to win the starting quarterback job from someone (JaMarcus Russell) who ended up being the #1 player picked in a draft.
Sure, Russell was a bust of colossal proportions, but NFL scouts didn’t predict that while he was still at LSU and starting over Flynn.
If a quarterback can’t be successful in the NFL if they didn’t start multiple seasons in college or get drafted very high, then someone should tell that to Brad Johnson, a ninth round pick in 1992.
All he ever did in a 17-year NFL career was throw for 44 more touchdowns than interceptions, play in two Pro Bowls, and help Tampa Bay win a Super Bowl. Matt Flynn started one collegiate season more than Johnson. That’s right. Brad Johnson was never the starting quarterback at Florida State.
What did Flynn do in his one year of starting at LSU? He won a National Championship and was offensive MVP in that game after throwing for four touchdowns against one interception. Yes, his past three real starts haven’t been too bad.
Another reason I am on the “Sign Flynn” bandwagon is because he is young and has been groomed to be ready for this opportunity. It’s his time now. A rookie quarterback won’t be ready like Flynn is already ready.
If the Seahawks fail to sign a quarterback and choose to draft someone in the first round, they still won’t be “all-in” with their quarterback of the future until year four of this current regime of Pete Carroll and John Schneider, as the assumption is that Tarvaris Jackson will likely hold off a rookie in 2012.
Then, asking a potential draft pick in ’12 to be a first year starter in ’13, I think, is asking too much of a youngster (if the team has legitimate aspirations of winning a Super Bowl that season) because he will likely have no starting experience in the NFL under his belt.
Realistically, this quarterback won’t be ready and experienced enough to successfully lead an NFL franchise to the Super Bowl until potentially 2014. To me, a regime cannot wait until year five before they have a quarterback fully ready to lead its franchise.
I would like to acknowledge there is risk involved with signing or drafting any inexperienced quarterback. As much as I think the odds are stacked for Flynn to become a good starting quarterback, there are no guarantees.
However, one reason I badly want the Seahawks to sign Flynn is because he’s young and is ready to be handed the keys to an NFL team (unlike a rookie). He’s also not going to cost a high draft pick next month (like a rookie).
I realize he won’t come cheap on the free agent market and that his signing will be less money towards other players, but I believe the risk is worth the reward.
I don’t think it’s responsible to keep kicking the can with short-term solutions at the most important position in professional sports. Sometimes you need to have the courage to put your eggs into someone’s basket and go “all in.”
Since there are no guarantees with any of the rookie quarterbacks who will be available with the 12th pick in the draft, I’d much rather go with Flynn and keep the draft picks to continue building the rest of the team.
Instead of asking if the Seattle Seahawks should take a chance on Matt Flynn, perhaps the question should be, “Why wouldn’t they take a chance on him?”