|Flynn loves Green Bay but he also wants to be a starter. (US PRESSWIRE)|
By Ryan Wilson
Assuming that Peyton Manning isn't in line for some Mr. Miyagi-style healing in the coming weeks, conventional wisdom is that Packers backup Matt Flynn will be the most sought after quarterback in free agency.
Through no fault of his own, Flynn has drawn comparisons to Kevin Kolb, a former Eagles second-round pick who was traded to the Cardinals prior to the 2011 season for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second round pick, and then promptly signed a $63 million extension, including $20 million in guarantees.
Kolb made seven starts during his four years in Philly, but was underwhelming in nine games as Arizona's starter last season.
Flynn, meanwhile, has two career starts and his numbers in those games are astounding: 55 of 81 for 731 yards (67.9 completion percentage), nine touchdowns, two interceptions and eight sacks. By comparison, Kolb's numbers in his seven starts for the Eagles: 148 for 239 (61.9 completion percentage), 10 TDs, 9 INTs, 15 sacks.
Free agency doesn't begin until March 13 and unless the Packers decide to re-sign Flynn before then, there's not much he can do.
"I'm a confident person but the element of the unknown makes you wish March 13 was tomorrow," Flynn said this week according to Sports Illustrated. "I've loved being a Packer, and it's not 100 percent sure I'm leaving Green Bay, but as a competitor and football player, that's what you play the game for -- to be a starter in the league. Hopefully some teams will be interested in me and I can find a good opportunity. I want to lead a team and I'm excited about it. But I can't talk to teams now. I don't know if I'm on their radar. It's going to be a long month leading up to that time -- waiting and wondering."
The Dolphins are the front runners for Flynn's services. Former Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin is Miami's new head coach and he knows Flynn well. And unlike Kolb's situation in Arizona -- he hadn't worked previously with Ken Whisenhunt and the Cards' offense is nothing like the Eagles' -- Flynn would likely be running a version of the Packers' offense in Miami.
"You can have all the confidence in the world but those two NFL starts were important for me and more important for my teammates, especially the New England game (in 2010)," Flynn said. "After that, they knew if something happened to Aaron, I could keep us competitive."
During a conference call with reporters earlier this week, NFL Network draft guru Mike Mayock called Flynn "interesting."
“When you look at the history of quarterbacks that were back-up guys and played a few games and then moved on and got paid a lot of money, there’s been mixed results there," he said. "… The bottom line to me, the league has minimal amount of tape on him and the league didn’t think that highly on him coming out of college.”
That's not to say players can't grow, especially in their first few years in the league (if that was an absolute truth, Tom Brady wouldn't be married to Gisele Bundchen). Still, concerns remain: “Over eight, 10 games when the league has a chance to get tape on Matt Flynn, how effective will he be?” Mayock asked.
But such issues aren't unusual; the Dolphins are intimately familiar trying to find a franchise quarterback.
(This is quite possibly one of the saddest lists you'll ever see; after Dan Marino retired following the 1999 season, Miami's top passers in the 12 seasons since include Jay Fiedler, A.J. Feeley, Gus Frerotte, Joey Harrington, Cleo Lemon, Chad Pennington, Chad Henne and Matt Moore.)
As for those Peyton-to-South Beach rumors that were swirling during Super Bowl week, Flynn's not paying attention.
"I try not to worry about things I can't control so there's no reason to have negative thoughts about that, " he told SI. "My goal is to be one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL and all I can ask for is an opportunity to find a good situation with a team that wants me. And then go there and have success."
For now we wait. Free agency doesn't start for another three weeks.
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