The Matt Flynn Derby Begins In Earnest

Where will the Packers backup go this offseason?

By Drew Magary
|  Monday, Jan 2, 2012  |  Updated 4:05 PM CDT
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The Matt Flynn Derby Begins In Earnest

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He had a game for the ages, but is he the real deal?

Okay, so... Matt Flynn! What a day! He had 480 yards passing! He had six freakin' touchdown passes! And someone once photoshopped him into a People magazine Sexiest Man Alive cover! Now you tell me that man doesn't deserve a hasty $50 million free agent contract!

Since quarterback is the single most important position in all of team sports, and since there are so few quarterbacks out there who can do the job well, you will always find a team out there willing to shell out big bucks to a prospective free agent like Flynn, whose career stats don't offer anything close to a large enough sample to accurately gauge his true ability. Teams do this even though the success rate for free agent QBs who surprised everyone by playing well in mop-up duty is pretty low. I personally remember the Scott Mitchell sweepstakes of 1994, when multiple teams tried to sign the Dolphins backup and were legitimately disappointed to miss out on him once he picked the Lions. And Mitchell is hardly the only example. From Matt Cassel to Elvis Grbac to Kevin Kolb, breakthrough quarterbacks always cash in and almost always end up disappointing.

I doubt Flynn will be an exception. Someone out there is going to make him an offer, and he'll probably fail once given control of his own team. And we can laugh at the Redskins in advance because they'll pay him too much money (seriously, they will), but you know what? I understand why teams keep doing it. It's so hard to find a quarterback now that I can hardly fault a team for doing ANYTHING - even investing heavily in a free agent with unknown upside - to see if they can nail one down.

The NFL, as it stands now, is dominated by three quarterbacks: Brady, Rodgers, and Brees. One of those quarterbacks is winning a Super Bowl this season. It's a lock. If you want to compete for a title, you need that kind of play at QB. That's why the Lions bet $41 million on Matt Stafford (paying off handsomely this season) and the Rams put $50 million into Sam Bradford (not so much this year). When you put that much on the line for one position and it goes wrong, you look stupid. But what other choice do you have? Without a QB, you're nothing. And that's why the likes of Cleveland, Washington, Miami, Seattle, and maybe even the Jets will sweep Flynn off his feet with a multimillion-dollar offer. That's why Arizona bet the farm on Kolb this past offseason. That's why the Raiders paid through the nose for Carson Palmer earlier this fall. Even when you know a QB is likely to fail, you have little choice but to pony up and hope you've hit the jackpot. It's a quarterback's league, and Matt Flynn is about to become a very rich young man because of it.

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