Free-agent countdown: QB Matt Flynn
Editor's note: Prior to the start of the new league year in March, Press-Gazette Media is counting down the top unrestricted, restricted and exclusive-right free agents the Green Bay Packers will have to decide on this offseason.
Matt Flynn proved to be more of a luxury than a necessity for the Green Bay Packers in 2014.
Since Aaron Rodgers was healthy enough to play in all 18 games (including playoffs), the seventh-year backup quarterback spent most of the season holding a clipboard and wearing a headset. Only three of his 67 offensive snaps came in meaningful situations.
The one-year, $1 million insurance policy paid dividends, though. The Packers' decision to keep Flynn and Scott Tolzien on the 53-man roster the entire season provided depth behind Rodgers, whose broken collarbone in 2013 threw the quarterback position into a tailspin.
But will it be enough to convince the Packers to do it again?
When asked about the backup quarterback situation, coach Mike McCarthy told reporters at the NFL scouting combine that he still believes Tolzien has more room for growth and acknowledged the obvious familiarity with Flynn, who has spent most of his career in McCarthy's system.
Flynn returned to the team that drafted him in November 2013 and helped save the Packers' season. After re-signing as a street free agent, Flynn guided the Packers to a 2-2-1 record in his five appearances, including a remarkable 37-36 comeback against Dallas to keep the Packers' playoff hopes alive.
There wasn't any need for heroics this past year. Rodgers finished among the league leaders in most passing categories, led the Packers to their fourth consecutive NFC North title and was honored as the NFL's Most Valuable Player for the second time in his career.
Rodgers has lauded the team's quarterback room for its role in those successes and pitched to keep it the same in 2015. While that remains a definite possibility, that situation could take some time to play itself out.
Despite Flynn's even-keeled performance in 2013, general manager Ted Thompson still waited more than a month after the start of free agency to re-sign the 6-foot-2, 225-pound quarterback and only after the New York Giants reportedly began to show interest.
Flynn, who turns 30 in June, completed 8-of-16 passes for 66 yards and two turnovers (one interception, one fumble) to finish with a 34.9 passer rating in seven appearances, which mostly came with the Packers leading by a wide margin.
Flynn beat Tolzien out for the No. 2 job coming out of training camp and held onto it for the entire season. When Rodgers was carted off the field with a calf injury in the regular-season finale against Detroit, it was Flynn who replaced him for one series before Rodgers reappeared shortly after halftime.
The Packers likely could re-sign Tolzien and Flynn at a low cost, but they could also decide to bring one back and draft a developmental quarterback. There are dangers in that, too. Thompson went that route in 2012 and whiffed on seventh-round pick B.J. Coleman out of Tennessee-Chattanooga.
Flynn shouldn't cost more than the $870,000 minimum salary for a seven-year veteran. He also knows the system and the quarterback better than any active player at the position. In the coming weeks, he should also get a better gauge on where he fits in the city where he's spent six of his seven NFL seasons.
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Matt Flynn, eighth-year quarterback
The skinny: Unrestricted free agent.
The snaps: 67 total (all offense).
The stats: 8-of-16 passing for 66 yards and one interception (seven games).
2014 salary: $1 million.