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Pete Carroll doesn’t mind paying Matt Flynn to be a backup

Matt+Flynn+Tennessee+Titans+v+Seattle+Seahawks+qHvp4AsP8iel Getty Images

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.

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39 Responses to “Pete Carroll doesn’t mind paying Matt Flynn to be a backup”
  1. nflofficeadmin says: Aug 28, 2012 2:52 PM

    Let me ask this question, would you pay that same amount now for Matt Flynn?

  2. vtopa says: Aug 28, 2012 2:54 PM

    That’s because Pete Carroll isn’t signing the paychecks…

  3. bobnelsonjr says: Aug 28, 2012 2:54 PM

    Flynn is injured and is not necessarily the back up. He certainly is not overpaid.

    Nice how the Seahawks dumped Tarvaris Jackson’s salary from the cap.

  4. shaggytoodle says: Aug 28, 2012 2:56 PM

    I don’t get why people make a big deal.

    The Seahawks staff saw Wilson play in preseason and practice.

    From what I hear Flynn has had arm soreness, and now people are giving the ‘hawks grief, because they are going with who they believe gives them the best chance to win.

  5. citizenstrange says: Aug 28, 2012 2:59 PM

    Every NFL team should have a backup qb who can win games and they don’t come for free.

    Better to overpay for a good qb than take your chances with journeymen and pray for no injuries to the starter or your season is over.

    Better to be able to trade away Jackson than keep him.

    It’s the most important position on the field. It even made sense taking a shot at Whitehurst.

  6. Nick says: Aug 28, 2012 3:01 PM

    The Seahawks’ salary and cap situation is so incredibly favorable for the team, this has little impact.

    The team is one of few in the league that can actually manage their salary and cap effectively, by not breaking the bank on FAs, and signing their players to contracts equitable to both the player and the team.

  7. tialen says: Aug 28, 2012 3:04 PM

    I don’t see anyone flipping out over what Hasselbeck is making in Tennessee..

  8. 12thmantime says: Aug 28, 2012 3:10 PM

    I don’t think it really is fair to “question the talent evaluation” at this point because Flynn was obviously an upgrade to T Jack at the time and what people seem to forget (and I don’t know why) they signed Flynn BEFORE they drafted Wilson. So they took they’re opportunity to upgrade the most important position in the field in the draft. If you see that as a mistake to always upgrade your QB situation then your job as GM or coach wouldn’t very long (I’m looking at you Pete haters)

  9. kylexitron says: Aug 28, 2012 3:15 PM

    Flynn was an upgrade over Tjack, and Wilson starting has EVERYTHING to do with Wilson exceeding all expectations and taking the job for himself and less to do with Flynn’s talent. As a Hawks fan I’d be comfortable going into the season with Flynn as the starter. He wasn’t terrible in the two halves he’s played in pre-season, he just hasn’t made the plays that Wilson has.

    When Flynn was signed they didn’t know they’d have Wilson on the squad and as much as they liked him enough to draft him, not even they knew Wilson would come and be the story of the pre-season.

  10. Pacific NW Mark says: Aug 28, 2012 3:16 PM

    There’s no need to ‘question the talent evaluation’ that led the Seahawks to pursue Matt Flynn – he’s a better quarterback than either option they had last year.

    I’ve watched every down of each of Seattle’s preseason games, and to be sure, Matt Flynn did not and does not suck. But Wilson has outplayed him.

  11. kylexitron says: Aug 28, 2012 3:19 PM

    also the cap hit isn’t huge, so if you’re just talking about the money?

    Who cares. Paul Allen has 13 BILLION dollars.

  12. specialagentjohnnyutah says: Aug 28, 2012 3:21 PM

    well said 12thmantime.

    If they had a crystal ball and knew they would get RW then they might have done things differently, however they now have two competent QB’s both with potential which is more than alot of other teams have.

    Once again, Flynn isn’t breaking the bank. All three of the Hawks QB’s wont make what AZ will pay Kolb this year.

  13. trollhammer20 says: Aug 28, 2012 3:21 PM

    Glad some people were paying attention, 12thmantime.

    Seattle knew they had to upgrade the QB position. They made a pitch to Manning (or tried to, anyway), the signed Flynn to a pretty fair market-value contract, who was the best FA after Manning. Then, in the draft, they take another QB, which makes sense, because Jackson was only under contract for one more year.

    If they had pulled an Arizona Cardinals and given up a player, a pick, and $60 million, then I could understand criticizing the move. But they’re only paying Flynn about 1/3rd that much.

    Signing Tavaris last year was “checking the bet” at QB, and waiting until the moment was right to throw some chips in the pot. That moment came this past summer.

    Whitehurst and Jackson out, Flynn and Wilson in, for about the same amount of money. That’s a freaking awesome job by a front office.

  14. m1000be says: Aug 28, 2012 3:22 PM

    I am sure he doesn’t mind because (A) he doesn’t write the checks and (B) it’s simply too late. You can’t cut him, because you need a decent backup, if Wilson struggles, but he can’t start him because Wilson is the future. So, now he is in a situation of it simply doesn’t matter if he “minds” or not.

    Had they known Wilson would be such a Preseason Stud, there is no way they would of went out and signed Flynn to this contract. What I really want to know is how Flynn feels about it. He left Green Bay to be a starter, turned down Miami (where he most certainly would of started) and now he is backing up a ROOKIE. That has to sting a tad. Then again, if I had his contract, I’d gladly sit down, shut up and hold the clipboard.

  15. packfaninpackland says: Aug 28, 2012 3:22 PM

    I think people are forgetting the Seahawks signed Flynn in mid-March.

    They didn’t draft Wilson until late April, so there was no way of knowing:

    a.) He’d be THIS good, this fast or,

    b.) He’d have still been available when the Seahawks picked him at #75 overall.

    c.) Plus, he could have gone to any number of other teams in the picks before Seattle took him at #75.

  16. thegonz13 says: Aug 28, 2012 3:35 PM

    Sure he doesn’t… he’s not signing the paychecks!

  17. vanyesno says: Aug 28, 2012 3:43 PM

    Also you all the haters realize that the hawks spent 4 mill on both clipboard jesus and TJax. Matty @ $2 mill plus bonuses is more than reasonable.

  18. seahawksdan72 says: Aug 28, 2012 3:43 PM

    the only person that should care about this story is the owner,he spent the money,and i dont here him complaining so he must trust what PC and JS are doing

  19. rcali says: Aug 28, 2012 3:44 PM

    It’s always tough to admit a mistake, especially with the Ego’s at this level. What is obvious to all of us is that Pete does not do a good job of evaluating NFL QB’s.

  20. seacolt213 says: Aug 28, 2012 3:46 PM

    The bottom line is that the Seahawks are not in any salary cap trouble, so “paying too much” is a relative term.

    Flynn has proven to be good off of the bench and if he comes out and wins the starting job, great. You have two seemingly competent quarterbacks on your roster and people are finding a way to make that a bad thing?

    Not to mention, if Wilson continues to play like a stud and he becomes the long-term QB in Seattle, by the time his rookie contract is up, Flynn’s contract will be too, so you can make a more educated contract decision then… When it might actually matter which QB is getting paid.

  21. sea961992mvp says: Aug 28, 2012 3:51 PM

    That could be the best deal for a rookie and a vet in the NFL stop saying 10 mill like its this year its over 3 years and to get the rest he has to reach certain numbers that as a backup he wont and if he does then good he is a steal. Change the headline to whisenhunt doesnt mind paying Kolb to be backup. Paul Allen doesnt wanna hear it….

  22. drunkunclesam says: Aug 28, 2012 3:54 PM

    Probably not as worried as the respective teams are about Kolb’s, Cassel’s, Fitzpatrick’s, and even Manning’s contracts.

  23. qdog112 says: Aug 28, 2012 3:59 PM

    Hindsight is 20-20. There is nobody who can honestly say that the investment in Flynn paid off, but as I have said many times, that is the cost of doing business. It’s about return on investment (ROI).

    Following the Cassel, Kolb model fails once again. The sample on Flynn was simply too small. True, they needed to upgrade, but Flynn was not the guy. When your most recent OC passes on you, when he takes his first HC job – that’s a sign.

    Now due to embarrassment, he’s hurt? The money was paid, the problem now is if this guy can play.(even as a backup)

  24. circuscivics says: Aug 28, 2012 4:04 PM

    I was never sold on Flynn anyway. I saw the hype behind Kolb after limited fill-in roles with the Eagles. A lot of yards, put also a lot of INTs. Flynn threw for 9 TD’s in his two starts, but also 5 INTs. Not a large enough sample for teams to go crazy over when he hit FA. The red flag for me was when his former OC, Philbin, did not sell him to Miami. They offered him good backup QB money. Also, how many teams were pursuing him? He had a visit with Miami, then Seattle, who signed him for a paltry, by NFL QB standards, $19.5 mil with only $10 mil fully guarenteed.

    To compound that, from the jump, Pete Carroll said that there was going to be open comp for the starting job. What team signs a supposed Franchise QB and makes that proclimation? The Cards didn’t even make a statement like that about Kevin “corn on a”Kolb.

  25. nickster31 says: Aug 28, 2012 4:25 PM

    I am not a Hawks fan, and I think they are making the right move.

    1 – When they signed Flynn, they had no idea they were going to get Wilson in the draft.

    2 – Having signed Flynn, they had no need to over draft like the Browns or Dolphins did.

    3 – If the Hawks had not signed Flynn, teams would have known they were looking at Wilson, and may have traded up to get him instead of letting him fall to the Hawks like they did.

    4 – Regardless of the money spent, it all has to fit under the same salary cap, meaning the owner (Billionaire) would be spending that money one way or the other. AND if Wilson gets hurt, they still have Flynn to play.

    Great move Seattle!

  26. slugbaitspace says: Aug 28, 2012 4:33 PM

    I’m pretty sure everybody was surprised in April when the ‘hawks picked a QB after having signed Flynn, and with T-Jack’s pec healed up it looked like two competent QBs on the roster…everything I read was people saying there were so many other holes which that 3rd round pick could have gone toward, and people asking which idiot decided to use it on yet another QB?

    Because of everybody else ranting about it, I started questioning it myself.

    Then I saw Wilson play. I watched as many other games as OTA allowed this preseason, and in all three Seattle games Wilson was easily the most electrifying QB I saw each week. The only other QB who truly impressed me was Peyton, but he wasn’t electrifying…he was just Peyton (which, of course, is not a bad thing).

    Maybe Seattle just got mostly lousy games for broadcast, and there are QBs in other games that I can’t watch who are lighting it up…but I’m not hearing about them as much as I’m hearing about Wilson, either.

    I don’t question the ‘hawks talent assessment at all now. I think the kid rocks, and a competent backup is there if they need him.

  27. nashwaakkidd says: Aug 28, 2012 5:04 PM

    as a Raiders fan , i can only wish that my team had the same “problem” at qb. i’d take either of these guys over the mess in oakland. tryin to make palmer a rollout/bootleg guy will not work! dude couldn’t get away from grandma in the backfield, damn you hue jackson, may you rot in hell.

  28. shlort says: Aug 28, 2012 5:22 PM

    I cant wait til WEilson hoists the Lombardi Trophy, the league MVP Trophy and the SB MVP Trophy this season.

    Wait, He hasnt played a single down of meanigful football yet?

    You people slay me with your assumption that Wilson will be the best QB in the world this year and forever….lol

    Here is the reality. Wilson hasnt proven anything yet. He has yet to take a snap in a regular season game. Is he a decent QB? It appears so, but why everyone wants to start chiseling his bust for Canton enshrinement after one starting effort.. well, that is a little ahead of the game.

  29. edavidberg says: Aug 28, 2012 5:23 PM

    Flynn is well worth the money and Wilson is looking like a bargain as a second rounder (even though they were ridiculed for the pick). I think the common response is that the Seahawk’s management knows what they are doing.

  30. glowingstone says: Aug 28, 2012 6:20 PM

    Why is this even an issue? It has *always* been difficult for teams to acquire a first-tier quarterback, and some teams are perennially out of the Super Bowl race because of it. Why would you *not* take these kinds of steps to get solid talent at your single most important skill position?!?

  31. pacodawg says: Aug 28, 2012 7:20 PM

    Oh petey it would matter if u were paying

  32. pissedfishfan says: Aug 28, 2012 7:26 PM

    Of course as long as Miami did not sign him and have him get beat out by a 3rd round rookie its all good. If it happened in South Florida it would be a disaster!!!!! thanks guys

  33. thelastpieceofcheese says: Aug 28, 2012 7:27 PM

    Flynn’s free agent contract = the great train robbery

  34. scoobaj says: Aug 28, 2012 8:14 PM

    yeah, what a bunch of idiots, i mean come on! you sign the best QB available in free agency for a cap friendly 10 mil guaranteed deal, then you have the audacity to draft one of the most dynamic, game changing draft steals in recent history, improving your QB situation 100 fold in one offseason…. heads will roll for this!!!

  35. laxcoach37 says: Aug 28, 2012 8:16 PM

    Dolphins Fans have little to smile about, but this one makes them laugh their @ss off. The coaches that knew Matt Flynn the most said he was not worth “starting QB money”, so that is what they offered. Guess the Fins were right. Good thing the Seahawks have Cap space. It’s always good to have 2 solid QB’s. I really hope R.Wilson does well, but be prepared for some inconsistency… I saw more Games and Practices than any of you at NC State. By the way, he is a better Baseball player than football player. Just an outright gifted dude.

  36. scoobaj says: Aug 28, 2012 8:19 PM

    all you hawk haters will eat crow this year, don’t forget the hot sauce

  37. sarkent says: Aug 29, 2012 2:12 AM

    How does it become a “talent assesment” issue when Wilson wasn’t even on the roster when Flynn was signed? If Tavaris Jackson had beat out Flynn then yes, its a failure of talent assesment. But free agency is before the draft, meaning Seattle decided Matt Flynn was an upgrade over Jackson and signed him. At that point they had no idea what, if any, QB they would get in the draft. As it turns out Wilson has played quite well and shown some things that you wouldn’t normaly expect from a 3rd round rookie. We’ll see how it turns out in the end, but that Flynn might turn out not to be as good as Wilson is hardly a failure of “talent assesment.”

  38. nigel6 says: Aug 31, 2012 1:25 PM

    Seattle is not paying very much for Flynn. I was very surprised when they were able to sign him for so little.

    This is the guy that holds the Packers records for most yards in a game and most TDs in a game.

    Pete Carroll is giggling himself to sleep over this “problem”.

  39. nigel6 says: Aug 31, 2012 1:31 PM

    Oh yeah, and Seattle’s last preseason game stats suggest that this isn’t cut in stone. Flynn should get plenty of playing time this season.

    SEA C/ATT YDS AVG TD INT SACKS
    Flynn 11/13 102 7.8 1 0 0-0
    Wilson 5/11 72 6.5 0 0 0-0

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