Kevin Seifert, ESPN’s NFC North blogger, raises the possibility that the Jermichael Finley’s signing yesterday could increase the likelihood that the team franchises backup quarterback Matt Flynn. The franchise figure for quarterbacks is around 14 million. Just for comparison, only seven quarterbacks last year had a cap figure over $14 million, with Phillip Rivers just under. That would be a higher cap figure than Aaron Rodgers last season.
We saw the New England Patriots successfully pull this off in franchising and trading Matt Cassel three years ago. They got a second round pick. However, in a trade scenario, the franchise tag gives the player a hammer. He doesn’t have to take significantly less than the $14 million early on. Cassel, for example, had an average cap hit of over $13 million over the first three years of the deal. Think about it. Why would Flynn entertain a deal with $27 million over the first three seasons (money more in line with Cutler, Kolb, or Schaub) when he knows he has the franchise tag tender behind him? He could say no, collect $14 million while sitting the bench and letting his legend grow, then easily make over $13 million in 2013 and 2014. That’s more like Hasselbeck to Tennessee or Fitzgerald money, something he would easily achieve.
I’ve expressed my reservations about Matt Flynn as a hot free agent, but I cannot believe that teams will be wanting to pay him as a top 8 player AND trade a pick for the privilege. If I can pay him $8 to $10 million per year with the requisite signing bonus, and I need a starter, maybe, but not the $12.5 to 13 million per year it will take to negotiate around the franchise tender.
I don’t see how any team will want to do that, and I don’t see what incentive Flynn would have to agree to a deal before hand at a discount, then allow the franchise tag to be applied later to complete the deal. Maybe they will find a partner, but I think franchising Matt Flynn is a big risk. Sure, you would like to get compensation, but there is a big difference between nothing and 14 million in this case. If there was a mid-level figure at around 7 million I could see the Packers using it.
It’s too big a risk for Green Bay to try to squeeze a second rounder rather than get a compensatory pick in 2013. You don’t want your backup getting paid more than your league MVP next season if no one bites.
[photo via US Presswire]