In the works since Friday, the Seattle Seahawks completed a trade Monday that sends reserve quarterback Matt Flynn to Oakland.
The Seahawks announced that the team received a fifth-round pick in 2014, along with a conditional pick in 2015 from the Raiders.
Flynn signed a three-year, $19.5 million deal last offseason to leave Green Bay in the hope of earning the starting quarterback job in Seattle. But Flynn lost out to rookie Russell Wilson.
Although both Seattle coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider maintained publicly that they would like to keep Flynn, the decision to move him was based more on finances than performance.
“He was a guy from the get-go that provided us with that comfort level going into the draft to have to not do anything that was crazy or outlandish,” said Schneider during an interview on 710-AM radio. “We could just stick with our plan, and we knew we had a guy who was a solid starter.”
Flynn, 27, was due to make $5.25 million in base salary this season, $2 million guaranteed, and $8.25 million in 2014.
Seahawks starter Russell Wilson will be paid $526,217 in the second year of his deal.
So, by trading Flynn, the Seahawks save $3.25 million in salary cap space this season and $6.25 million in 2014.
Flynn teams up with Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie. They were together with the Packers, where Flynn backed up Aaron Rodgers.
“He will get the opportunity to compete to be a starter with the Raiders,” McKenzie said.
Flynn will compete with third-year pro Terrelle Pryor for Oakland’s starting quarterback job. Last season’s starter, Carson Palmer, is expected to be traded, possibly to Arizona.
Freeing up the salary cap space now will come in handy for the Seahawks, with Wilson; receivers Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin; and defensive backs Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner all looking for contract extensions.
Schneider acknowledged that Seattle can’t pay all of its young talent, but he’ll do his best to keep the core of this Super Bowl-contending team together.
“We’ve created models three years out to be able to do the best job we can in taking care of our own players, and keeping this core group together,” Schneider said.
“Everybody wants to be the highest paid at what they do. But it just doesn’t work that way. So we’re going to do what we feel is best to try (to) keep this team together.”
With Wilson the only quarterback on the roster, the Seahawks are looking to add depth, either through the draft or free agency.
ESPN reported that the Seahawks will bring back Josh Portis, who was released from the practice squad in November.
The Seahawks signed Portis out of California (Pa.) as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2011. At 6-3 and 213 pounds, Portis is a rangy athlete who showed promise in 2011 exhibition play, completing 10 of 24 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown. Portis also ran 10 times for 51 yards.
Portis, 25, spent his rookie season on Seattle’s 53-man roster and was active for one game, against Cleveland, serving as the backup for Charlie Whitehurst when Tarvaris Jackson could not play because of a pectoral injury.
Meanwhile, veteran QBs Matt Leinart and Tyler Thigpen are potential targets for Seattle in free agency. The Seahawks showed interest in Leinart, who played for Pete Carroll at USC, before signing Jackson before training camp in 2011.
“There’s different avenues we can go,” Schneider said. “Obviously we have a plan in place. And it is contingent on who that player is. Obviously, there’s veterans that are available right now — some very talented guys actually. Some guys who are all football, and have been down that road before that Russell’s previously experienced. And then there’s also some guys in the draft that we think are pretty interesting.
“So we have a plan, and we’re going to take it as it comes. We’re not going to force anything. And we’re not going to get into a situation where we have our hands tied.”