Matt Flynn (04/20/13)
Leading up to the NFL Draft we will take a look back at some of the big moves during the NFL Free Agency. We will grade each signing, analyze fantasy impact, and look at prop bets for each player acquired where appropriate. This is all done through 50,000 simulations of last season with the signed players joining their new teams. Previously covered: Mike Wallace, Wes Welker, Reggie Bush, Carson Palmer.
Oakland traded two draft picks, a fifth round pick in 2014 draft and a conditional pick in 2015 to acquire Matt Flynn. Last year Flynn had signed a three-year, $26 million deal with the Seahawks but has agreed to restructure his deal with the Raiders. His 2013 base salary increased from $5.25 million to $6.5 million (all guaranteed) while his 2014 salary drops from $6.25 million to $5 million. There are incentives and escalators that can bring the value up to $15.25 million.
Since 2002, Oakland’s last winning season, the Raiders had 15 different starting quarterbacks. Those starters have combined to finish last in completion percentage and touchdown percentage resulting in the second-worst record in the NFL.
Reaction after trading for Flynn, pretty mundane.
Reaction after hearing that the Tuck Rule may be removed, much better. The twitter picture is of Brady fumbling the ball and not tucking it.
Below is a look at Flynn’s numbers over his five-year career. What Oakland is really trading for are two performances. The first, 251 yard and three touchdowns in a loss at New England late in 2010. The second, 31 of 44 for 480 yards and six touchdowns in a win against Detroit in 2011.
Here are our projections through 50,000 simulations of last season. Point of clarification, we are simulating Flynn on the field for Oakland as the starting quarterback. It is important to remember that these projections are rough estimates since we are using last year's schedule, assuming all players are healthy, and not accounting for all the changes throughout the NFL.
Free Agent Signing Grade: B
As a baseline, we simulated the entire season without the addition of Matt Flynn. On average we projected the Raiders to win 6.9 games while losing 9.1. Oakland finishes third in the AFC West.
After accounting for the addition of Flynn as the starting quarterback Oakland wins on average 6.4 games and loses 9.6 games. The Raiders finish third in the AFC West.
Oakland traded a 2012 first-round pick and a conditional second-rounder in 2013 to acquire Carson Palmer from the Cincinnati Bengals. If Oakland had kept Palmer they would have owed him $13 million this year. That is a sunk cost and one that general manager Reggie McKenzie rightfully ignored. Oakland was able to acquire a younger player with the potential to be a franchise quarterback at half the price. Flynn does not immediately improve the Raider’s win/loss record (Oakland has a lot of issues) but he is a viable starter. Flynn will likely become the 16th starting quarterback for Oakland in the last ten years.
Matt Flynn: Flynn has posted two monster games as a starter in the NFL. However, he was beat out in an open quarterback competition by Russell Wilson last fall. Flynn will not put up the kind of elite numbers game in and game out that we saw in his two starts in Green Bay but he will make for a practical starter in the NFL. That conversely does not lead to fantasy success. Flynn is currently projected as the 32nd quarterback taken in drafts. He will not be drafted in most leagues as even a backup. His only upside might be in deep dynasty leagues where you could pick him up late and hope for a turnaround in Oakland (it can happen in the NFL, see: Seattle, San Francisco, Washington).
Denarius Moore: Tight end Brandon Myers, Oakland’s top receiving option last year, left in free agency while fellow wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey was cut and then signed with the Colts. This leaves Moore as the number one option in Oakland. Moore was targeted 115 times last season but only managed to catch 51 balls. Moore will get a lot of targets this season and if he is able to find a pair of hands could have a monster fantasy year. We project Moore to catch 90.5 balls for 1,304.8 yards and 6.7 touchdowns. Moore is currently projected as the 42nd receiver taken in drafts but if things break right he could be the number option on your fantasy team.