The New York Jets once again have an interesting quarterback situation heading into the regular season. After the Geno Smith injury (broken jaw), many fans and writers were clamoring for the team to add another quarterback. Considering the team’s current depth chart at quarterback consists of Ryan Fitzpatrick (who missed games as recently as last season with a broken leg) and two unpolished rookies, the Jets were forced to address this problem via free agency.
Enter the newest Jet, Matt Flynn. Who exactly is Flynn? Do fans have any reason to be excited about this acquisition? And most importantly, what are the odds Flynn actually takes any snaps in a regular season game?
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Similar to his teammate Fitzpatrick, Flynn is a journeyman. A 2008 7th round pick by the Green Bay Packers, he has since spent time on the rosters of five other teams.
However, while Fitzpatrick has proven that he can consistently post respectable numbers over a long career (89 career starts), Flynn has been an enigma frequently relegated to holding a clipboard (only 7 career starts).
To his credit, Flynn has primarily been placed in situations where it would be almost impossible for any quarterback to start. He has spent the vast majority of his career backing up future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Flynn also spent a season backing up Russell Wilson in Seattle.
Besides the fact that he’s a career backup, little is known about Flynn. However, there are a few reasons to suspect that he could be a tolerable starting quarterback. First, on the rare occasions that he was able to play, Flynn has posted acceptable numbers. For his career, he has 17 touchdown passes versus 11 interceptions and a 61.3 completion percentage.
Additionally, NFL executives and scouts clearly see some potential in Flynn. In 2012, Flynn left the Packers to accept the Seahawks’ three year/$20.5 million contract offer. And after leaving Seattle and bouncing around on a few other teams, the Packers were happy to bring Flynn back for a portion of 2013 and the entire 2014 season.
Aug 21, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Matt Flynn (5) during warm up before game against the Atlanta Falcons at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
Because Flynn has some NFL experience and limited success, the Jets were wise to sign him. If necessary, he can fill in for a few games and keep the team competitive. All optimism aside, however, Flynn has not shown nearly enough for anyone to expect him to start.
Fitzpatrick is a reliable and proven veteran, and rookie Bryce Petty has potential. If both of those options fail due to injury or ineffectiveness, and if Smith still has not returned from his injury, the Jets should look to Flynn to see if he can be a hidden gem.
Most likely, Flynn will hold a clipboard behind Fitzpatrick. When Smith returns, the Jets may outright release Flynn. However, the NFL is a sport filled with chaos and injuries both on and off the field, and it’s impossible for any team to have too many insurance options.