By Eric D. Williams The News Tribune
INDIANAPOLIS — If Pete Carroll has his way, Matt Flynn will stay in Seattle for another season — whether Flynn wants to or not.
Speaking Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine about the possibility of trading his backup quarterback, the Seahawks’ coach echoed general manager John Schneider’s sentiments that he’s in favor of keeping Flynn on the roster for a second season.
Flynn is due to make $5.25 million in base salary in 2013, $2 million of which is guaranteed. Seattle’s starting quarterback, Russell Wilson, is scheduled to make $525,000 in base salary.
“To have a caliber of second quarterback like Matt, you can’t get better than that,” Carroll said. “That’s a great deal for us. And so we’re very solidly in favor of keeping that together if we could.”
That news might not sit well with Flynn, who would like a chance to earn a starting job on another team. Carroll, however, could point to the $8 million the Seahawks paid Flynn last year as reason for the quarterback to remain a good soldier in Seattle.
“He wants to play,” Carroll said. “He’s sat around for a while now. He wants to play badly, so he’s going to battle wherever he gets his chance to. Right now, we’re just fortunate to have him.”
Another reason for Seattle to keep Flynn is that it will be hard to find a competent quarterback with similar skills as Wilson. A couple developmental prospects with the ability to run the read option are available in the draft — Florida State’s E.J. Manuel and Arizona’s Matt Scott — but none would provide the type of experience in Seattle’s offense that Flynn brings, particularly with the Seahawks seemingly on the cusp of a Super Bowl run.
“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.”
In terms of this year’s draft, Carroll said he likes the quality of speed rushers available in the early rounds.
“We’ve got a long ways to go on figuring this out,” Carroll said. “There are some speed guys — a half-dozen guys that are big, long, fast guys that we have to sort out. And right now, we’re just figuring out kind of who they are. But there are some guys that are interesting and exciting. We’ll see as we go through it.
“There’s some big guys inside, but not really the pass rush-oriented guys that maybe we saw when (Ndamukong) Suh and (Gerald) McCoy and those guys came out a couple years ago. But, still really good football players that … could help our team.”
Carroll also said he’s grateful Dan Quinn was available to return to the team as the defensive coordinator when Gus Bradley took the head-coaching job at Jacksonville.
Quinn, who worked as Seattle’s defensive-line coach for two seasons before taking a job as the defensive coordinator at the University of Florida in 2011, brings familiarity to the defense.
“It’s amazing that we would lose Gus, and be able to bring back Dan, who knows every single bit of our language, our concepts and our principles,” Carroll said. “He was a great student of it before he left. He took stuff with him and experimented with it when he went to college, which was great. He brought back some things that we used to do in college, that’s exciting for some of our coaches.”
But that doesn’t necessarily mean everything will stay the same. Under Bradley, the Seahawks seldom blitzed, choosing instead to try to create pressure with the front four. That could change with Quinn calling the defense, Carroll said.
“We will be a little more aggressive in calls and style, I would think, as you add them all up at the end of the year,” Carroll said. “I think you’ll see that.”