The Seahawks signed former Packers backup quarterback Matt Flynn to a three-year deal Sunday, and while he will be Seattle’s highest-paid quarterback next season, he won’t simply be handed the starting job.
“I don’t know that,” Carroll said on a conference call when asked who will start next season between Flynn and Tarvaris Jackson. “It was very clear how we delivered the message that we now have the opportunity to make this an open competition. Tarvaris is well ahead, he’s the guy that’s here working fro us now. I told Tarvaris when I talked to him yesterday what were doing with Matt brining him in here to compete for this job and it’ll make everybody better and help our football team. That’s really clearly where it is.”
Now it wouldn’t look great for the Seahawks to go out and sign a free agent, pay him more than their current quarterback, then have him sit on the bench, so while Carroll won’t say it, they’d like Flynn to come out and win the job. But unlike last year when the lockout eliminate offseason workouts, prompting Carroll to name Jackson the starter before he had practiced with his new team, the Seahawks won’t rush that decision this time.
“We weren’t able to do this last year in that fashion because of the timeframe and lack of OTA season and all of that, we had to go ahead and make a decision early, but that’s not the case now,” Carroll said. “I expect T-Jack to be better and I expect Matt to come in here guns blazing trying to take that job, so it’ll be a great situation for us.”
Having to win the job sits fine with Flynn, who has only been a starter once since graduating from high school. He spent most of his time at LSU behind future No. 1 pick JaMarcus Russell, then took over the starting job as a senior and led the Tigers to a national championship. In Green Bay, Flynn has made only two starts in four years while playing behind Aaron Rodgers.
“I’ve always been a very competitive guy, I’ve always been a confident guy and I’ve always been a guy who believes in working his tail off,” he said. “I’m going to come in here and I’m going to be in a competition, and I know that whatever happens, whatever my role is, I just want to make the Seattle Seahawks a better football team, and that’s something I look forward to doing.
“We talked about it, he’s big on competition, and I’ve been a firm believer in competition—I think it brings the best out in everybody—and that’s what I’m looking forward to. I can’t wait to get it started and get it rolling.”
Flynn impressed Carroll and John Schneider during his visit, both in a workout and while breaking down plays on the whiteboard. The quarterback came away equally impressed with the organization.
“I just really enjoyed it up there,” he said. “… It’s a very young team and I felt like they’re headed in the right direction with a chance to do something special. I’m very excited about it and excited about the opportunity.
“I think there’s an opportunity there to have a very special team and a very special organization.”
Carroll said that this signing doesn’t necessarily mean the Seahawks won’t draft a quarterback at all in next month’s draft, but admitted that it does remove some pressure to do so.
One other thing of note is that Carroll confirmed that he did fly to Denver while Peyton Manning was visiting there to try to meet with the quarterback. Carroll said he was unable to connect with Manning there, but that they did talk earlier in the free agency process.