Matt Flynn: The Man Who Turned One Good Day of Work into Twenty Million Dollars


Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

It was a cold and windy January day at Lambeau Field. The Detroit Lions (10-6) were coming into Wisconsin to take on the Green Bay Packers (15-1). With 15 wins and 1 loss, the Packers had already secured home field advantage throughout the playoffs. With Aaron Rodgers resting up for the post-season, an unknown quarterback by the name of Matt Flynn was getting the start for the Packers.

So with Rodgers bundled up on the sideline, Flynn was given the keys to the Packers high-powered offence. And apparently, he was ready to drive. Flynn came in to set franchise records with 480-yards and 6 touchdowns passing in a 45-41 shootout victory in the regular season finale.

In Flynn’s mind, the performance could be a chance at a starting job and lead to a significant payday. A seventh-round draft pick out of LSU in 2008 suddenly had the perfect highlight video to help his offseason free agency.

In comes the Seattle Seahawks, who had a season of inconsistency at the quarterback position in 2011 after losing longtime starter Matt Hasselbeck. When seeing Flynn’s highlight reel (the January 1st game against Detroit) Seattle signed him to a three-year deal worth 20.5 million dollars with 9 million guaranteed. With the money the Seahawks were putting down, Flynn seemed like the frontrunner to win the starting job against 2011 starter Tarvaris Jackson and rookie Russell Wilson. However, Wilson was named the starter, making Flynn and his contract expendable.

Prior (no pun intended) to the 2013 NFL season the Seahawks traded Flynn to the Oakland Raiders for a 2014 fifth round draft pick and a conditional 2015 draft pick. Flynn was brought to Oakland to compete against 2013 fourth round draft pick Tyler Wilson and 2011 third round pick Terrelle Pryor. Like in Seattle, Flynn seemed to be the frontrunner to win the starting quarterback battle, but again an unlikely adversary beat him to the position. This time it was Pryor who was named the starting quarterback over Flynn.

In Week 3 Pryor went down with a concussion against the Denver Broncos. Flynn finished the game completing 1 of 2 passes for 19-yards. Pryor’s concussion also prevented him for competing in the next week’s game against the Washington Redskins, giving Flynn the starting job and a golden opportunity to prove his worth. Flynn completed 21 of 32 passes for 227 yards with one touchdown and one interception in a 14-24 loss. The lone touchdown came in the first quarter and the interception was returned for a Redskins touchdown. Just a few weeks later, the Raiders released Flynn.

Which brings us to yesterday, when the Buffalo Bills announced the signing of Flynn. The announcement was the latest in a long list of scrambles the Bills have made at the quarterback position this season. The season began with veteran quarterback Kevin Kolb going down with a career-threatening concussion and rookie E.J. Manuel needing minor knee surgery. That’s when the scrambling began.

The Bills traded for Thad Lewis and signed free agent Matt Leinart. Lewis was sent to the practice squad and Leinart’s tenure with the Bills was catastrophic and short-lived. Manuel made his way back into the lineup for the opening game of the season but was injured again in Week 5. This injury had the Bills calling up free agent Josh Freeman and working-out Dennis Dixon and Pat White. Buffalo then decided the best course of action was to bring Thad Lewis off the practice roster for their Week 6 game against the Cincinnati Bengals. While Lewis played well in a 24-27 overtime loss, he injured his foot during the game. The injury is said to be minor, and coach Doug Marrone told the media Lewis will be starting next week against Miami.

For now, Flynn is said to be an insurance policy for Buffalo. With E.J. Manuel out six to eight weeks with a knee injury, the Flynn signing was a methodical decision, whatever the logic happened to be. Flynn was most likely brought in as a backup… but who knows, maybe the Buffalo faithful will be lucky enough to see a Matt Flynn interception… or seven.