One of the most common responses to the Seahawks’ decision to make rookie Russell Wilson their starting quarterback was that they had blundered by spending a lot of money to bring Matt Flynn to town as a free agent.
Coach Pete Carroll doesn’t share that opinion. During an interview with 710 ESPN, via SportsRadioInterviews.com, Carroll was asked about Flynn’s salary and he explained that it doesn’t bother him because he wasn’t thinking about salaries while evaluating the team’s quarterbacks.
“That’s the price of free agency. That’s the market. The market was driven there and we had to pay that price to get the player to come to our program and I said to you two that that doesn’t matter to me,” Carroll said. “I don’t want that to matter to me. We understand there is a thought about that, but as a coach I’m doing this for the competitive reasons in the fact that come out and if a guy gets paid more and he’s playing backup he better be a pretty good backup. He better play well and better perform well, so I don’t think any fan out there would want me to make a decision based on how much a guy is getting paid. You want the best guy at that time to play for us and that’s exactly how I see it. We are going to keep standing up for that. I’m not trying to make any statements. That’s just the facts.”
Whatever the market, it is fair to question the talent assessment done by the Seahawks now that Flynn is running with the second team. It’s much harder to question making decisions based on performance instead of salary.
If Carroll did want to make a statement, he could point out that the combined salaries for Flynn and Wilson add up to less than several other quarterbacks are making by themselves around the league this year. That doesn’t mean much if the quarterback play isn’t good, but it does make it easier to swallow the $10 million in guaranteed money that they gave Flynn as a free agent.
The real problem in Seattle would have been paying both Flynn and Tarvaris Jackson to be backup quarterbacks, but Wilson’s relatively miniscule salary and trading Jackson to Buffalo offset whatever financial dismay might have come with Flynn’s move to the bench.