SIDELINES: Seahawks skip Broncos' Manning-Tebow drama by signing Matt Flynn
By CASEY OLSON
Federal Way Mirror Sports editor
March 19, 2012 · Updated 2:36 PM
The domino, also known as Peyton Manning, finally fell into place Monday morning. That's when news broke that Manning will take snaps as the Denver Broncos quarterback next season.
The signing ends the ridiculous saga of media outlets tracking flights from Denver to Phoenix to Miami to San Francisco. There was even news helicopter footage of Manning's white van driving down the street.
The signing now starts a whole new media frenzy involving Denver's former starting quarterback — Timothy Tebow.
What are the Broncos going to do with the ultra-popular quarterback who led Denver from obscurity into the second round of the playoffs last season? Tebow led the Broncos to several fourth-quarter comebacks and an improbable win over the mighty Pittsburgh Steelers in the opening round of the playoffs.
How brass is Denver general manager John Elway? What happens if Manning doesn't have "it" anymore or suffers a career-ending neck injury the first week of the season and Tebow tears it up at his new destination?
Elway's five Super Bowls and two titles with the Broncos will not be the first things remembered by fans. He'll be remembered as the GM who ran off "The Savior."
You can't help but respect Elway for what he's done. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sign a first-ballot Hall of Famer to play quarterback who is still in his mid-30s.
But it's also a great opportunity for Tebow to make wine from water one more time. What would happen to Twitter and ESPN if Tebow goes to the Miami Dolphins and leads them to a Super Bowl after the Broncos kick him to the curb? The Internet would literally shut down from overuse. It would be the biggest story in the history of sports.
In quarterback news closer to home, it looks like the Seahawks have found their guy. Seattle inked Green Bay backup Matt Flynn over the weekend to a three-year contract with $10 million guaranteed.
Details emerged Monday that the Seahawks were also serious about signing Manning. Team officials, including head coach Pete Carroll, flew to Denver to try and set up a meeting with Manning when he was visiting the Broncos. However, the Seahawks were denied that meeting.
"We did talk, we messaged back and forth," Carroll said. "We tried to hook up with him and could not make it come together."
After being dissed by Manning, Carroll and crew turned their attention to Flynn, the next best free agent QB on the market — "next best" being a relative term. Flynn is obviously hundreds of rungs down on the quarterback ladder than Manning. Heck, he's only made two starts in the NFL during his four-year career backing up Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay.
But Flynn's made the most of them, setting Packer franchise records by passing for 480 yards and six touchdowns in the 2011 regular-season finale, and also throwing for 251 yards and three TDs in his other start in 2010. For his career, Flynn has completed 62 percent of his passes (82 of 132) for 1,105 yards, with nine TDs and five interceptions, in 34 games.
Flynn, 26, was the Packers’ seventh-round draft choice in 2008, when Seahawks general manager John Schneider was with the team.
Flynn's deal, according to multiple reports, is for three years, $26 million, of which $10 million is guaranteed. That is not an astronomical number for a starting quarterback.
Obviously, $10 million to anybody who is not a Microsoft exec, an A-list actor or a starting NFL quarterback is a massive amount of money. But Flynn's contract is significantly smaller than the deals of three recent backup quarterbacks who left for starting jobs — Arizona's Kevin Kolb ($26.5 million guaranteed), Kansas City's Matt Cassel ($28 million guaranteed) and Houston's Matt Schaub ($21 million in first three years of contract).
Here's hoping the signing of Flynn ends the recent quarterback carousel the Seahawks have been throwing out under Carroll, including Matt Hasseleck, Charlie Whitehurst and Tavaris Jackson.
We will see.Contact Federal Way Mirror Sports editor Casey Olson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (253) 925-5565 ext. 5056.