Two weeks ago, a stellar, record-setting performance from Packers backup quarterback Matt Flynn sparked speculation that the Packers could use the franchise tag on the free-agent-to-be, in order to prevent him from hitting the open market in March.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the Packers are “unlikely” to do so.
Though they have several more weeks to make a final decision, use of the tag would entail significant risk. The Packers would have to offer Flynn a one-year salary that is expected to be in the range of $14.5 million.
That’s $6.5 million more than Aaron Rodgers’ base salary for 2012.
Also, once the contract is offered to Flynn, he’d surely sign it — making the money fully guaranteed.
Then there’s the fact that any team trading for Flynn would have to sign him to long-term deal, with $14.5 million in 2012 serving as the starting point.
In the end, the maneuver probably entails far more risk than G.M. Ted Thompson will be willing to assume. Unless, of course, a team desperate to secure “dibs” on Flynn works discreetly with the Packers to set up a sign-and-trade scenario that allows Flynn to receive a fair contract, to go to his desired destination, and to allow the Packers to get some compensation for developing the seventh-rounder into one of the hottest names on the free-agent market. Even if the Packers only get a mid-round pick, the ability to ensure that he goes to an AFC team could make the Packers more inclined to try to work something out — especially if the Raiders and new G.M. Reggie McKenzie, a long-time Packers employee, decide to make a play for Flynn.
Other teams that could be interested in Flynn include the Browns, Redskins, Dolphins, and Seahawks.