At the Combine, Seahawks GM John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll reiterated their previous statements about quarterback Matt Flynn, indicating they are happy to have a starter-quality backup behind Russell Wilson and would be quite content to hang on to Flynn for another season.
They both came across as completely confident in the strength of their quarterback position, which makes you think they are not going to accept a dinky offer for Flynn.
Schneider also repeated that he would listen to any offers, and both men made sure to remind everyone that Flynn did not lose the job last summer -- Wilson simply won it by being so spectacular.
Schneider told reporters on Thursday that he has not talked with anyone about trades yet, because the offseason has barely begun.
"It’s so early -- everybody involved in their draft meetings," he said, "so it’s not like I’ve had a chance to sit down with other general managers or some of the other people that I’m close with throughout the league to talk about what their situation is.
"But as you guys well know, we’re always going to listen to everything. And if we’re not doing that, we feel like we’re not doing our job. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that we will do something with Matt.”
Schneider reiterated that the Hawks can afford to keep Flynn and his $5.25 million salary because he fits into their salary cap model. He did not elaborate, but that probably refers to the fact that the Hawks are not paying that much to the QB position.
Wilson is due to make $527,000 and they will count a combined $7.93 million, which is less than Zach Miller ($11 million), Sidney Rice ($9.7 million), Russell Okung ($9.54 million), Marshawn Lynch ($8.5 million) and Chris Clemons ($8.17 million).
“To have a caliber of second quarterback like Matt, you can’t get better than that," Carroll told reporters Friday. "That’s a great deal for us. And so we’re very solidly in favor of keeping that together if we could.”
The Hawks figure to get some kind of offer for Flynn -- whether it's from Jacksonville, the Jets, Kansas City or some other club -- and then it just depends on what they are willing to accept for him.
We recently outlined what his value could be, based on previous trades of top backup QBs, and we said a third-rounder and a conditional 2014 pick seemed about right.
The Hawks might settled for just a third, or perhaps they would be willing to take a fourth this year and a conditional pick in 2014.
Here's one example of how the conditional escalation could go:
Fourth: He starts at least 12 games and throws at least 20 touchdown passes.
Third: He starts every game and throws at least 24 TD passes.
Second: He starts every game and throws for 3,400 yards and/or 26 TDs.
First: He starts every game and leads his team to the playoffs and/or makes the Pro Bowl.
The Hawks also could use him as a trade chip on draft day, possibly combining him in a move up in the second round (the Jags and Chiefs are at the top of the round, assuming they don't move back into the first to get a QB).
Carroll seems fine keeping Flynn because Flynn knows the offense and Carroll doesn't know whether the Hawks can find a backup who would offer the same mobility as Wilson.
“Where are you going to find another Russell Wilson?” Carroll said. “How many of him is there? If there’s another one, we’d like to find him. It’s going to take an unusual athlete that can run exactly the same stuff, and we’re not necessarily going to be able to get that done."
Of course, he might be concealing possible mid-round interest in rookies such as Florida State's E.J. Manuel and Arizona's Matt Scott.
“We’re going to take the best guys fighting for that third spot," the coach said. "Matt can run our offense, every single aspect of it. But we’re not going to run him a lot. Other than that, he’s going to be in the classic sense of a quarterback, and he can run the whole thing. He’s already proven that to us. So we’re in good shape there."
Either way you look at it -- trade Flynn or keep him -- the Hawks are in a position of strength at QB.