GREEN BAY, Wis. — Not even a three-year, $26 million contract last offseason was enough to guarantee former Packers backup quarterback Matt Flynn the starting job with the Seattle Seahawks.
Flynn received $10 million guaranteed from Seattle. But, six weeks later, the Seahawks drafted Russell Wilson, and it was the rookie from the University of Wisconsin who won the starting spot after beating out Flynn.
That leaves Flynn, who will turn 28 years old this offseason, in search of a team that might give him a shot. Fortunately for Flynn, there are always several teams dissatisfied with its starting quarterback.
With Wilson locked in as the starter in Seattle, Flynn could be traded or — if there’s not a deal to be made — released.
Here are the five teams that could show serious interest in the Packers’ all-time leader for passing yards and touchdowns in a single game:
1. Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City owns the No. 1 pick in this year’s NFL Draft, a spot that typically results in a team selecting a quarterback. However, without any projected franchise quarterbacks in this year’s class, the Chiefs might be wise to draft the best player available and trade for — or sign — a quarterback like Flynn.
Former Packers director of football operations John Dorsey is now the general manager in Kansas City. That connection is a major factor in whether Flynn joins the Chiefs, as Dorsey knows more about him than most front office executives throughout the league.
Though Flynn has only had two career starts, he would be an upgrade over the Chiefs’ current two quarterbacks, Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn.
2. New York Jets
Flynn also has a significant connection here, with the Jets recently hiring John Idzik as their new general manager. Idzik was the Seahawks’ vice president of football administration when Seattle signed Flynn in March 2012. If Idzik still values Flynn after spending one season together, it makes sense that the Jets would be interested.
Mark Sanchez had a horrible season in New York and the Tim Tebow experiment was never given much of a chance to succeed. With Rex Ryan still the Jets’ head coach, he may want to give it one more shot with Sanchez (especially with that Sanchez tattoo on his arm). However, New York could use a quarterback like Flynn to either challenge Sanchez or permanently take his starting spot.
3. Arizona Cardinals
The choices at quarterback in Arizona this season were Kevin Kolb, John Skelton and Ryan Lindley, and none of them were the answer. With new head coach Bruce Arians taking over, it’s highly doubtful he’d be interested in trotting out the same three players as he tries to fix a horrible offense that is wasting Larry Fitzgerald’s prime years.
The Cardinals have the No. 7 overall pick in the draft, but again, there isn’t much first-round quarterback talent this year. All of this adds up to the possibility that Arizona brings in a player such as Flynn or soon-to-be ex-49ers quarterback Alex Smith.
4. Cleveland Browns
The Browns drafted a quarterback in the first round, Brandon Weeden, in 2012. However, after an unsuccessful rookie season, Weeden — who is older than Flynn — doesn’t seem to have a very bright future. Cleveland still has Colt McCoy, its third-round pick from 2010, but Weeden got the nod over him last season.
However, with new head coach Rob Chudzinski taking over the Browns, he may have a different vision for his quarterback position. Picking sixth in the draft, there won’t be a quarterback worthy of being selected that high. That could open the door for Flynn to compete with McCoy and Weeden for the starting job in Cleveland.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars
It’s no surprise that all five teams on this list have top 10 picks in this year’s NFL draft. A team without a solid quarterback usually fits into those early draft spots, and the Jaguars are another one of those teams. Jacksonville drafted Blaine Gabbert 10th overall in 2011, but he’s been a disappointment thus far. Chad Henne was a serviceable backup last season but isn’t the type of quarterback that any team should be comfortable entering its season with as the starter.
Jacksonville’s new head coach is Gus Bradley, who was the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator last season. Bradley got to watch Flynn every day in practice. If Bradley liked what he saw in Flynn and isn’t happy with the Gabbert – Henne combination, this is another potential landing spot. There were rumors that the Jaguars might bring in local hero Tim Tebow to boost interest in the team, but new general manager David Caldwell shot that down immediately upon accepting the job.