A Quick Glance at Matt Flynn’s Post 2011 Career


Simply because I know it will come up today I wanted to put together a quick table looking at Matt Flynn’s salary vs production since leaving Green Bay as a Free Agent following the 2011 NFL season.

Total $14,500,000532

That’s quite the haul for just slightly over 500 yards of production. I’m sure the Packers are hoping he doubles his Packers yardage total today.


Flynn-ished: Raiders release beleaguered QB


On Monday, the Raiders took the expected final step of releasing much maligned quarterback Matt Flynn. Heavily assumed to be in the works since Flynn’s disaster of a start against the Redskins, the move took just over a week to be made.

The financial implications of Flynn’s release are pretty cut and dry. The Raiders will gain no cap space from Flynn’s release, barring the event of Flynn signing on with another team. He will still account for $3,875,000 against the Raiders’ cap this season. Considering Flynn’s performance and drastic fall from grace, if Flynn did latch on with another team, the amount would likely be close to the veteran minimum, a paltry recouping of cap space. The remaining pro-ration of Flynn’s signing bonus from his two restructures will result in a dead money hit of $2,625,000 for next season since Flynn obviously was released after June 1st. The Raiders will get back Flynn’s $5,000,000 salary for the 2014 season and that same amount in cap space.

Some have taken umbrage with McKenzie for guaranteeing Flynn’s salary for the season, but I don’t think guaranteeing Flynn’s salary for the 2013 season was a poor move. Though Flynn underwhelmed, he still didn’t underwhelm to the point to where he would have been released before his salary would have vested as a veteran anyway. While initially Flynn wouldn’t have cost any cap space to release after 2013, and the restructures changed that, the amount is comparatively small when juxtaposed with the Raiders’ massive cap space for 2014. In short, it shouldn’t have much, if any of an impact on next year’s situation. Some others would point out that this wouldn’t have been an issue in the first place if McKenzie had simply not traded for Flynn and used that money elsewhere. While viable, the Raiders also needed a quarterback, and there was history there to suggest the move made sense. The more interesting aspect to this move is how Reggie McKenzie completely misread his former player’s fit for the Raiders roster.

Though the financial aspects of this mistake are not dire, there are some troubling factors to this move. The fact McKenzie acquired a former player who he, in theory, knew very well, flamed out so quickly is worrying. A 5th rounder on the whole isn’t a huge sum, but for a GM who has stated he can find starters through the 5th round and relies on the draft, a 5th rounder given up for a player who lasted 5 games that he had worked with before is a blow to his evaluation skills. Those who viewed the move positively at the time assumed that Flynn had the skills to become a decent backup at least. Flynn failed to even demonstrate that by showing no pocket presence or elusiveness. Combined with less than stellar arm talent, and the widespread knowledge that the Raiders’ Offensive Line is atrocious, it is obvious how badly this experiment would end. Everyone knew Flynn was propped up by Green Bay’s talent, but McKenzie should have known just exactly how much Flynn was helped by his surrounding talent.

While it is nice that McKenzie quickly admitted the mistake instead of compounding it, something that Raiders’ fans are not accustomed to, it still doesn’t change the error. McKenzie allegedly wanted Matt Barkley and Ryan Nassib over 4th round quarterback Tyler Wilson, but seemingly was so intent on drafting a quarterback, it seems he went against his board, something he says he would not do. Generally reaching at a position, and not following your board, is a quick way to wind up with a talent poor roster. Although the only lingering cost of the Flynn error after the year will be less than 3 million, the implications of the decision making acumen of the person in charge of the Raiders are potentially far more dire.


Stock Down: Week 4


Every Monday during the season we will take a look back at three players who are entering important stages of their contract that may have hurt their stock in upcoming negotiations with their play on Sunday. In addition we will also look at one player signed in the offseason to a new contract that did not live up to the expectations that his contract sets for the player.

Stock Down

Hakeem Nicks– Nicks complained to some extent last week about his lack of getting the ball thrown his way, but this week the ball went his way and too often fell off his fingertips. Nicks, who after 2011 was poised to be a top paid WR, has struggled for the last two years. He hadn’t really made the kind of impact the team was expecting and against Kansas City he was a major disappointment. Nicks finished the day with 33 yards, which was 33 yards more than the week before, and had multiple passes that he could have hauled in end up on the ground. Early in the game he dropped a deep sideline pass and immediately began looking for a flag. Luckily for him there was one, except on the Giants which called the play back, making his drop easily forgotten. Later in the game he again was there down the sideline and he attempted a one handed grab for a reason only he could answer as he easily could have gotten a second hand under it. Two years of struggling on a team with another receiver doing well may prove difficult when he hits free agency looking to be paid like Mike Wallace. Like the Giants he needs to turn the season around.

Andy Dalton– Entering his third season in the league, Dalton was supposed to take the leap and establish himself as a bonafide top level starter in the NFL. He’s had the near perfect situation with a defense that is considered among the top 5 in the game, a solid offensive line, and playmakers in the passing game to make a playoff run that likely would lead to a lucrative contract extension after the season from the surprisingly high spending Bengals. Instead Dalton has been underewhelming and on Sunday was outplayed by a player most considered a  journeyman backup. Dalton is going to be perceived similar to Josh Freeman in that he is highly dependent on one receiver and if that receiver was removed from the game his stats would fall to far below average territory. The Browns did a decent job of taking that receiver, AJ Green, out of the mix and Dalton struggled badly. More games like this and the extension talk is going to turn to “finding another QB before we waste the talent” talk very quickly

Maurice Jones-Drew– MJD has been here before and let’s face facts its over for him. Maybe he will find a home somewhere next season and have a surprising one year wonder resurgence like Jamal Lewis did with the Browns in 2007, but his ability to command big dollars is pretty much gone. Jones-Drew has yet to break 50 yards this season and this weeks’ 1.8 yards per carry is a season low, topping last weeks’ 2.26 YPC disaster.  There was a time in his career when he could have at least made a team like the Jaguars with no viable QB at least look like a professional team, but now he just looks like the rest of the Jaguars. At this rate MJD may find it hard to even find a team to try him out next season.

New Contract Disappointment Of The Week 

Matt Flynn– I could have easily gone with Joe Flacco this week after his 5 interception outing versus the Browns, but I chose Flynn instead. Flynn went up against one of the worst defenses in the NFL and did nothing. Flynn led the team to just 7 offensive points, but returned the favor with a pick 6 to give the Redskins life. He was sacked 7 times and fumbled once. The Raiders traded for Flynn this offseason assuming he would be a holdover starter for one to two seasons while they rebuilt the organization. The Raiders were the second team to learn that there is no upside to Flynn and benched him before being forced to start him this week due to injury to their actual starter. This was Flynn’s opportunity to prove everyone wrong and he failed badly. Flynn has just become another in a long line of failed backup QBs that should all have a buyer beware sticker around their neck at this point.

Follow @Jason_OTC


State of Rebuild – Oakland Raiders


How do you build a winning football team?  Over the next few weeks I am going to look at a handful of teams that are relatively early in their rebuilding process or on the verge of a possible rebuild.  The purpose of this is not to reflect on past regime decisions compared to the current decisions but rather to start the analysis from day one and evaluate personnel decisions along with contract structures and styles to see if certain trends help produce a winning franchise.

State of the Franchise and Front Office

It’s well recognized by even the most diehard Raider fans that the team hasn’t lived up to its mantra “Commitment to Excellence” for a very long time.  General Manager Reggie McKenzie and Head Coach Dennis Allen enter their second year with the Raiders in one of the most unique situations I can remember.  To put it simply, McKenzie has blown the whole thing up.  This is essentially an expansion team that has been broken down to the bones and in the early stages of a massive and complete rebuild.  For a great in-depth look at how the Oakland Raiders got to where they are, I encourage you to read Joel Corry’s piece by clicking here.


GM Reggie McKenzie and HC Dennis Allen

With McKenzie seemingly purging the roster completely, the Raiders have amassed a stunning $50,321,847 in dead money this year, effectively decimating this year’s salary cap.  In my opinion, it’s an absolutely brilliant maneuver.  The Raiders weren’t going to compete for a Super Bowl this year, let alone a division title, and were anchored down by terrible contracts and personnel decisions.  By cutting loose the awful contracts and biting this bullet this year, the Raiders are set to have almost a complete clean slate heading into 2014.  The Raiders currently have the smallest amount of money committed to players under contract next year at $51,476,044, and are set to lead the league in cap space going into next year by a long shot even after factoring in the $6,609,588 of dead money.  With a cleaned out roster and tons of cap space, it will be interesting to see if McKenzie builds through the draft and avoids free agency like he did when he was the Director of Football Operations for the Green Bay Packers or splurges with all the available funds.

Despite all the pessimism around the chances of the Raiders winning more than a handful of games this year, there was a brief moment during last weekend’s contest against the Colts where everyone watching thought, “The Raiders might actually win this game.”  But alas, a late interception by Terrelle Pryor sealed a week 1 loss for the Raiders to the relief of nearly half the Survivor Pool participants who confidently picked the Colts.

Contract Strategies and Trends

There isn’t a ton to look at in this section yet.  Most of the players McKenzie has brought in this offseason have similar style deals, usually one-year in length, with a small to medium sized signing bonus, and a workout bonus usually ranging from $100,000-$250,000.  Some of these players include S Charles Woodson, CB Mike Jenkins, and DT Vance Walker.  McKenzie for the most part has avoided using roster bonuses but there are a few exceptions including Tracy Porter’s $187,500 RB and Usama Young’s $65,000 RB, both of which are in 2013.  After using the franchise tag on S Tyvon Branch last offseason, McKenzie also used a pair of roster bonuses when the Raiders agreed to a new contract with him before the deadline that contained a $1,000,000 roster bonus in 2014 and 2015.

McKenzie’s biggest free acquisitions over the past two offseasons were G Mike Brisiel and LB Nick Roach.  Both contracts are set up very similarly with Brisiel’s 5-year deal and Roach’s 4-year deal both containing a standard breakdown of P5 (base) salaries, signing bonuses, and workout bonuses.  Brisiel was brought in last year to play guard in the zone-blocking scheme, but after one unsuccessful year the Raiders have abandoned it.  Brisiel’s underwhelming play last year and an offensive-line scheme change led to what was originally believed to be a pay-cut.  Instead it seems to be more of a normal restructure.  This is odd because it was widely believed that Brisiel wouldn’t quite fit into the Raider’s new scheme, and would only have cost $2,240,000 in dead money to move on from him.  Now it would cost almost $3,930,000.  If Brisiel turns his play around this year than there is nothing to worry about, but if he continues to struggle, now the Raiders are committed even more to a player they don’t want, and had the chance to bite a smaller bullet earlier.  For what it’s worth, PFF graded his first game against the Colts as an average performance.

Of course there is always K Sebastian Janikowski.  The longtime Raider was given an extension through the 2017 season maintaining his status as the leagues most expensive place kicker.  From what I can tell, Janikowski’s P5 (base) salaries are guaranteed in 2013 and 2014 at $3,500,000 and $2,700,000 respectively, and with small signing bonus proratations, it’s basically only a 2-year deal.  If the Raiders finally decide to move on from the Janikowski era after the 2014 season, it will only cost them $360,000 in dead money in 2015, 2016, and 2017.

McKenzie also extended long snapper Jon Condo shortly after Janikowski.  Condo’s deal isn’t anything special contractually, just a standard P5 (base) salary and signing bonus, but yet again a Raider who plays special teams is being paid at the top of the market.  For more details on Condo’s extension, click here.


Biggest Upcoming Roster Decision

The comical but semi-realistic answer to this question would be Jadeveon Clowney or Teddy Bridgewater but it is the NFL, and despite Oakland’s current situation, the Raiders are by no means guaranteed to have the 1st pick in the 2014 draft (looking at you Jacksonville).  The Raiders actually host the Jaguars this week and are giving 6 points now in what could be a decisive game for determining who has the 1st overall pick in next year’s NFL draft.  The real decision then is between Matt Flynn and Darren McFadden.

The Raiders and Flynn restructured his deal in May to create a little cap space, which in turn aided in bringing back Charles Woodson to the silver and black.  As a result, Flynn goes into the 2014 season with a cap charge of $7,625,000.  Had he won the job, and presumably would have been the starting quarterback going into next offseason, that figure isn’t terrible at all.  But after losing to Russell Wilson in Seattle last year, Flynn lost the quarterback competition again, this time to Terrelle Pryor.  Whether Pryor is the starter heading into 2014, or the Raiders use a high draft pick on one, the total cost allocation of the quarterbacks for the Raiders is still going to be a friendly figure, making keeping Flynn at the high cap number, even as a backup, reasonable.  If they decide to cut him, it would cost the Raiders $2,625,000 in dead money in 2014 as well as throwing away the 2014 5th round pick and most likely the conditional pick in 2015 that was paid to the Seahawks for Flynn.  Jason pointed out one additional reason the Raiders might choose to keep Flynn around – to reach the CBA mandated minimum cash spending.  Remember the CBA divided the actual cash spending by the teams into 4-year buckets.  Because the Raiders payroll is so freakishly low this year, they are one of the few teams that could plausibly not reach the minimum threshold.  Keeping Flynn, and paying him, would help the Raiders reach that threshold.

mcfaddenAs for McFadden, it was reported that the Raiders haven’t officially reached out to him about signing an extension before he hits free agency next offseason. The 4th overall pick in the 2008 NFL draft is entering the sixth season of a disappointing career.  The best player comparison I can think of going into this season for McFadden is 2008 2nd overall pick Reggie Bush.  Before being traded to Miami prior to the 2011 season, many of the concerns about Bush are shared by McFadden now; unproductive, injury-prone, and underachieving.  Through the first five years of each of their careers, one of those players played in 57 of 80 possible games, scored 23 rushing or receiving touchdowns, and compiled 4,803 yards from scrimmage while the other played in 60 of 80 possible games, had 29 rushing or receiving touchdowns, and compiled 4,232 yards from scrimmage.  Player 1 is McFadden and Player 2 is Bush.  Both stat-lines are extremely similar and fall far short of the expectations both franchises had when they selected the running backs at the top end of the Draft.  While I personally don’t see McFadden resurrecting his career like Reggie Bush has, I think it’s more than likely this is the final season Run DMC spends in Oakland, completing the eradication of the Raiders’ 1st round picks.

This is going to wrap up the preliminary look at some of the franchises starting their rebuilding process, in the midst of it, or on the verge of one.  There are a few more teams we could have taken a look at but I either felt that they are going to be sufficiently analyzed on the site already (Jets) or would repeat some of the styles we’ve already started analyzing from previous teams.  I’ll probably do a check-in article sometime towards the middle of the season to look at some of the moves that have been made since the articles were written and a general progress report on how their season is currently going.  As always, if you have any questions, concerns, or disagree with anything – don’t hesitate to comment or reach out to me.

Past ‘State of Rebuild’ Articles

Philadelphia Eagles

Chicago Bears

Buffalo Bills

San Diego Chargers

Ryan Feder
Tulane University Law School
J.D. Candidate 2015

Thoughts on Raiders’ Restructuring of Matt Flynn’s Contract


Matt Flynn reportedly restructured his contract for a 2nd time since being traded to the Raiders according to Ian Rapoport. Assuming he took a minimum salary of $715,000 the Raiders will create $1,267,500 in cap space and Flynn will carry a cap charge of $3.607,500. His 2014 number would then rise to $7,892,500.

The Raiders needed to do this move in order to sign CB/S Charles Woodson. My numbers are bit off on the Raiders and Im still missing details on Josh Cribbs, both of which I will try to correct in the near future, but according to the NFLPA the Raiders had only $179,987 in cap room, which would not be enough to sign Woodson, who should carry a cap charge of $1.8 million. In order to sign a player to a contract the league mandates that you have enough cap room before they allow the contract to be accepted.

Now if you quickly do the math you will see that the money created still is not enough to sign Woodson, but it is worth noting that the Raiders have a June 1 cut on their roster in Michael Huff. The NFL and NFLPA calculate June 1 cut data differently and in this case the NFL calculates it properly and in accordance with the CBA. The NFLPA immediately moves the player into “dead money” and out of the top 51, which forces another player to count in the top 51. Per the CBA the June 1 designated release has his contract count as if he is on the team, meaning he maintains his place in the top 51. That means as of today the Raiders cap is under-reported by $480,000 using NFLPA accounting methods. If you take that into account the Flynn restructure would leave Oakland with $1,927,487 in cap room, just enough to sign Woodson, a move that was officially accepted by the NFL yesterday.

With Woodson signed the Raiders will only have about $130,000 in spending money but once Huff comes off the books on June 2nd the team will pick up $7.52 million of net cap space as he saves the team $8 million and will be replaced by a player likely earning $480,000. So don’t expect the Raiders to sign many, if any, rookies until June 2nd. They could fit some later round picks who will only have their prorated money count towards the cap, but most likely they would just hold off.

My first reaction when I heard the news was “same old Raiders”, but after giving it more thought I dont see any issue with the deal. Oakland has so much cap room in 2014 due to finally gutting the roster in 2013 that the added cap charges for 1 player has no material impact on the team whatsoever. Flynn’s 2014 cap charge is still low for a starting QB and even if he is relegated to backup status he will likely be backing up a high draft pick QB, whose cap charge will be just over $4 million. So the Raider positional cap allocation would still be extremely low at the position.

While some may say what purpose is there to an older player whose best days are long behind him to a team like this, I think there is a solid answer to that question. The Raiders are going to be a young team and have just invested a top draft pick on a cornerback, DJ Hayden,. who the Raiders felt was actually worth the 3rd pick in the draft if they had been unable to trade down. Sometimes you want your young players to learn from the right people and Woodson has seen and done it all at the position. He can serve as a mentor to Hayden and to the team. The Raiders have been devoid of anything resembling leadership and Woodson brings that. Woodson knows the situation he is getting into and the role he is to play so I would expect him to embrace the role as a leader of young men trying to turn an organization around.


Raiders, Seahwaks, and Cardinals Make Some Moves with Flynn and Palmer


With accurate news of Quarterbacks Matt Flynn and Carson Palmer’s restructures in hand, I figured now would be a good time to look at the set of moves that landed Flynn in Oakland, Palmer in Arizona, and what it all means for the teams involved.

First the Seahawks, who shipped out last year’s usurped before he held the throne starter Matt Flynn. As well know by now, the Seahawks netted a 5th in 2014, and a conditional pick in the 2015 draft. Considering all the circumstances, I can’t imagine that pick being high at all. Still, it’s a decent get for the Seahawks for a disposed starter making decent money. It does, however, also leave Seattle without a capable backup, with all due respect to Josh Portis. The Seahawks will incur 4 million in dead money, the acceleration of Flynn’s signing bonus, but are off the hook for the guaranteed portion of his salary (the Raiders will cover that) and will gain 3.25 million in space, along with Flynn’s would have been salary of 5.25 million. The Seahawks, with more than enough comfort as it pertains to the cap, I imagine will use the savings to find a backup quarterback, and work on extending their own.

Next, the Cardinals, who gain Carson Palmer for a swap of a 6th for a 7th and a conditional 7th the next season. Palmer was never going to see his 13 million salary, and sure enough isn’t going to see it in Arizona either. If the recently reported numbers are correct (and considering Mr. Brian McIntyre’s usual excellent work, they should be), Palmer will not only give the Cardinals something more than a warm body at quarterback (apologies to another deposed not quite the starter Drew Stanton) but something at least league average from the position. Palmer should be a good fit for Arians downfield attack as his arm has looked much better than the last of his Bengal days. Part of that though also assumes they keep him upright, and in that vein it would not be surprising to see the Cardinals and Raiders connect on another trade for the #3 pick come draft night. For now though, Palmer sees his salary reduced to 2 million this year, and along with the proration of his new 6 million signing bonus, gives him a cap number of 4 million for 2013. For 2014, his cap number is 10 million, though if he flops, or wants to leave, or for whatever reason is no longer in the team’s plans, the Cardinals could release him and save 4 million against the cap once Palmer’s acceleration and guaranteed portion of his salary is accounted for. Palmer’s contract will void after 2014 currently, though there’s plenty of time before then. The Cardinals overall cap health isn’t drastically affected by the Palmer acquisition and remain in decent shape.

Finally, the Raiders. The Raiders give up a 5th rounder in the 2014 draft (which according to more than a few essentially equates to a 6th rounder in this draft) along with a still unknown conditional pick. Some may pan this move for the Raiders, but I think it’s a decent fit. The quarterback class has been viewed with skepticism this year, and Flynn still has some upside. General Manager Reggie McKenzie also is obviously familiar with Flynn from their Green Bay days. Flynn can come in and compete with Terrelle Pryor (I’d expect him to win based on contracts and reports, but one never knows) and either serve as a veteran backup, a stop gap starter, or flourish into something more. Considering the way some 3rd day picks are thrown away, I think it’s a worthwhile gamble. Reports has Flynn originally getting an increase in base pay this season along with a reduction next season, but this is not the case and never did make much sense as Jason noted. New numbers finally released today have him reducing his former base salary of 5.25 million down to 3.25 million, and in return he gets the additional 1.25 million guaranteed (originally 2 million from Seattle already was) and a 3.25 million signing bonus spread over 2 years. Flynn’s 2014 base salary also reportedly has been reduced from 6.25 million down to 5 million, putting his cap hit that season at 6.625 million. Essentially McKenzie took 2 million from Flynn’s salary this season, and 1.25 million next season and combined it into a signing bonus. This will save the Raiders only 375,000 against the cap this year, but they maintain future flexibility if Flynn doesn’t work out saving 5 million next season if they release him, being on the hook for only 1.625 million.

The other part of this trade for the Raiders was dumping Carson Palmer’s contract. Conflicting reports makes it unclear who exactly wanted out, but it’s safe to say both sides had likely grown tired of each other. Palmer was not going to be around if and when the Raiders had successfully rebuilt the team and reportedly wanted to play for a team closer to contention. Palmer will leave the Raiders with 9.34 million in dead money, though the Raiders will save a hair short of 6 million in cap space and 13 million in cash by trading him. The Raiders also managed to secure a higher pick in this draft, moving up from the 7th into the 6th, along with potentially getting an additional 7th next draft. It’s not much, but it’s better than the nothing that was due with an expected release. These moves put the Raiders roughly 9.8 million under the cap, which while I won’t expand on in this post, currently gives them more than enough flexibility to eat all of Rolando McClain’s contract this offseason if they so choose.

It’s safe to say I think everyone is mostly happy with the returns. Arizona gets a quarterback who fits their direction without giving up a ransom, the Raiders get one who fits their team and save cap space and money, and Seattle unloads a player who was not in their long term plans though I’m sure Seattle would like a set backup quarterback, though the team is in amazing shape. In the end though, only time will tell how these trades fare.

Jim can be reached by angry Seahawks and Cardinals fans who know more about their teams than he does at JimOTC@gmail.com