Trade Bait: Alex Smith, Matt Flynn?
Quarterbacking in the NFL is a daunting task, one that requires a lot of patience, perseverance, and skill. Being the leader and captaining a team is a responsibility left for those who are capable of delivering W’s to their respective franchises. It would appear that in 2012, two efficient quarterbacks were left in the dust, exiled from football’s most coveted position in favor of two unlikely heroes that delivered their teams to the 2012 postseason, with one leading his team to the NFL’s most coveted game in two weeks. Alex Smith and Matt Flynn are two talented passers who have seen better days in the league, with Smith being replaced in November due to a concussion by the young versatile Nevada star Colin Kaepernick, while Flynn was outgunned and outplayed by former Wisconsin Badger Russell Wilson during training camp to earn the starting spot on the Seattle Seahawks depth chart. As it would appear, Smith and Flynn might be inclined to look for new homes in 2013…as other teams may be interested in finding solid replacements for their squads.
It comes as a surprise to no one that Colin Kaepernick is the new face and leader of the Niners. He’s 7-2 as a starter this season including the playoffs, and now has San Fran in position to win their sixth Super Bowl title. As for Alex Smith, he had a breakout season a year ago and continued making tremendous strides this season as the man under center. But, injury can be a stifling plague that ends all hopes and dreams. Smith has sat idly by, watching Mr. Kaepernick excel at the quarterback position the last half of this season…even when he led the San Francisco 49ers to a record well above .500 and the NFC Championship a year ago. Now the tides have turned and Smith is second best on the West Coast. The question that remains now is what are the Niners going to do with Smith in the off-season?
Smith is a talented quarterback…much more of a game manager than play maker, but nonetheless, his knowledge of reading coverage and his accuracy are his strong suits, as Smith had the highest passing percentage of any quarterback this season. His abilities might cater to the needs of several teams looking to add a managing quarterback to their roster.
Many NFL franchises are in desperate need of a quarterback. To name a few, the Cardinals, the Jaguars, and maybe even the New York Jets are shopping around the league looking for usable talent. The Cardinals managed to shuffle through three quarterbacks this season…all of whom couldn’t get the job done. The Jaguars have held on to Blaine Gabbert as their starter, but when the injury bug bit, it was Chad Henne who was called in to take the reins…to disastrous results, while the New York Jets have had more quarterback drama this season than the shows littering Broadway. Alex Smith might be a fine choice for any one of these franchises looking for a managing quarterback to get their offenses moving again. Yet, you have to ask yourself…what is the price of acquiring Mr. Smith?
In the other dominant NFC West squad, we have former Green Bay backup and now current Seattle backup Matt Flynn, who was shipped out to Seattle early last year, and expected to be the starter of the lowly Seattle franchise. Surprise, surprise when the 2012 draft rolled around and the Seahawks drafted Russell Wilson to be Flynn’s backup…only to wind up as the starter after training camp had concluded. Wilson, a quarterback with a height deficiency, much akin to Drew Brees, became a lethal rushing and passing threat as the 2012 season progressed…giving Matt Flynn a cold spot on the bench as QB #2. Flynn became potential trade bait last season when he stunned the football world in Week 17 when he passed for six touchdowns against the Detroit Lions, defeating them 45-41. Now, Flynn’s short time may be up in Seattle because of Mr. Wilson’s emergence.
What other franchise’s could be desperate for a quarterback at this time? Is it possible that the Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Titans, and even the newly led Kansas City Chiefs could use some help at quarterback? These three teams might be itching for someone new to take a hold of the offense…and Matt Flynn might be just the guy they need to lead the way. Flynn was a star at LSU and even shined a few times in games with Green Bay. Flynn’s unpredictability and pocket presence have helped establish him as a formidable playmaker. Does Flynn have what it takes to be a starting quarterback in the NFL?
The Oakland Raiders have seen a slew of quarterbacks roll through their town in the past decade, all of which have been unimpressive…and currently Carson Palmer seems to be losing steam. Tennessee was thought to have a breakthrough year with a breakthrough player in Jake Locker, but his numbers don’t hold any future promise, and the Kansas City Chiefs need someone other than Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn under center…that decision will be left up to newly appointed head coach Andy Reid. It would appear that these three squads could use the services of Alex Smith or Matt Flynn. It all depends on who is willing to pull the trigger on either of them.
Both Smith and Flynn have a lot of potential, and because of their performances in years past, their respective franchises may be able to get a better bargain for them because of their worth. It just depends on who is willing to take a chance and who has the available resources to get either Smith or Flynn out of the NFC West.
What does the future hold for these two gunslingers? We can only speculate what will happen in the offseason. At the very least, Smith and Flynn have much more promising futures than some other NFL quarterbacks…I’m looking at you Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow.