Poor, poor Matt Flynn. The young quarterback sat behind Aaron Rodgers for three years, earning the backup quarterback job and getting meaningful playing time in only three games. About a year ago, he signed a big free agent contract to become the likely starting quarterback in Seattle, only to have his job taken out from under him by another quarterback who played in Wisconsin the year before, Russell Wilson.
Don't get me wrong. I'd gladly take $8 million ($2 M base, $6 M signing bonus) to hold a clipboard and talk on a headset. But then again, I don't think I'm capable of being a starting quarterback in the NFL. (Just kidding, Jaguars, you have my number.)
Now it looks like Flynn will finally get the chance to start full-time, as reports are swirling that the Oakland Raiders are working on a trade package to acquire Flynn from Seattle. My first thought was that Reggie McKenzie is looking at bring in Flynn for the long-term good of the Raiders and that knowing Flynn from his time in Green Bay may be a factor in play here, though that is just speculation on my part.
For the Raiders, it makes sense moving forward as a financial move: Carson Palmer won't restructure his deal in Oakland, and they don't seem to want him any more anyhow. His cap charge for 2013 is $15.335 million, including a $13 million base salary. Cutting him now would leave about $9.34 million in dead money on the cap for 2013, but would remove the $17+ million that Palmer would be owed each year from 2014-16.
NOTE: this article originally and incorrectly reflected that the prorated signing bonus is charged to a traded player's new team; when in fact, the old team is responsible for the cap charge of the signing bonus. Therefore, Oakland will only be charged with Flynn's base salary moving forward.
Flynn would come in with a $5.25 million salary in 2013, but only is owed $6.25 million in 2014 before he becomes a free agent. I broke it down in tabular form below, showing the savings over the next two years that the Raiders would get from cutting Palmer now and bringing in Flynn:
|Year||Palmer Cap Hit||Flynn Cap Hit||Net Savings|
|2013||$15.335 M||$5.25 M||$0.745 M|
|2014||$17.335 M||$8.25 M||$9.085 M|
|Total||$32.67 M||$15.5 M||$9.83 M|
(All values courtesy of Spotrac.com)
Yes, Flynn will save over $9 million in cap space in 2014 alone for the Raiders, but some of the biggest value here would be for McKenzie to take advantage of the opportunity to rid Oakland of the last two years of Palmer's contract. Even if Flynn performs well and earns an extension, it would almost certainly have a smaller cap hit than the over $17 million per year Palmer would get in those years.
I wish Flynn the best in his switch to the AFC, and will have no trouble cheering for him against quarterbacks like Alex Smith and Philip Rivers. Best of luck to you, Matt.