How does Matt Flynn fit in with Raiders?
Matt Flynn, the Raiders' newest quarterback and presumptive starter, has the epitome of a small sample size when it comes to gauging his NFL career.
The former seventh-round draft pick has played in all of 37 games in his five-year career, starting a grand total of...two. He has completed 61.7 percent of his passes while throwing for 1,083 yards and nine touchdowns with five interceptions. Flynn has a career passer rating of 92.0.
But what, exactly, kind of a quarterback is the 6-foot-2, 230-pound Flynn, and how does he fit into the Raiders' new offensive system?
[RELATED: What does Flynn deal mean for Raiders?]
Raiders coach Dennis Allen talked of Flynn's "football character" and pointed to Flynn's championship pedigree, having won titles in college at LSU and in the NFL with Green Bay.
"He understands what it takes to play championship football," Allen said Monday in a conference call with Bay Area reporters.
Allen also compared him to the likes of Matt Schaub and Aaron Rodgers. Not for their respective skill sets, mind you, but for the waiting game each had to take before becoming an established starter.
"He's a smart, intelligent football player that's one of those guys that knows the game of football and knows his strengths and limitations," Allen said of Flynn. "And at that position, that's really critical."
Not exactly an on-field scouting report, but as noted above, it's hard to describe Flynn based on his relative lack of experience.
Sure, he's had a pair of sterling starts, going for 251 yards with three touchdowns and an interception against New England in 2010 before lighting up Detroit for 480 yards and six touchdowns on 31-of-44 passing in a 45-41 victory in the Packers' 2011 finale.
Still, many scouts and observers have questioned Flynn's arm strength and he is seen as a dink-and-dunk West Coast offense artist. He's not the most nimble of quarterbacks, but he has some mobility.
Which is anything but the statuesque and big-armed Carson Palmer. Or Terrelle Pryor, whose accuracy issues might be covered by his running game.
In fact, Flynn's skill set may actually make him a better fit for last years offense, the one authored by the fired Greg Knapp, rather than the new one coming in with Greg Olson.
Then again, Olson promised that his offense would be tailored around the personnel at his disposal, rather than the other way around, as it was in Allen's rookie year as a coach. And still, so much will depend upon the running game and the health of Darren McFadden.
Flynn, who turns 28 on June 20, is not the prototypical running quarterback, the spawn of the new rage, the zone-read option ala Tim Tebow, Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson or Colin Kaepernick.
No, that is more the style of Pryor…we think. But he has an even smaller sample size than Flynn, obviously.
And no, Allen was not ready to proclaim Flynn the starter. Or Pryor, saying he had yet to speak with Pryor about the trade.
"The cream," Allen said, "is going to always rise to the top."
Not the case with Palmer in Oakland, though.
Palmer, 33, is due base salaries worth a combined $28 million over the next two years; Flynn $11.5 million. Palmer also has salary cap numbers of $15.335 million and $17.335 million the next two years; Flynn's cap numbers are $7.25 million and $8.25 million.
But for the trade -- the Raiders will send a fifth-round draft pick in 2014 and an undisclosed conditional pick in 2015 to Seattle for Flynn -- to truly make financial sense, Oakland has to trade Palmer, rather than simply cut him, as cutting him would only save the Raiders $5.995 million against the cap this year. Meaning, Oakland would eat $1.255 million in cap space on the Flynn deal if they merely cut Palmer.
"We realized it was time for us to move on, move forward," Allen insisted.
With Palmer still on the roster and Flynn now on it, estimates have the Raiders within some $250,000 of the salary cap, with the draft still to come and the offseason training program at the Raiders' Alameda facility beginning on April 15.
I asked Allen, finances aside, if the Raiders got better as a team with the trade for Flynn.
"Yeah," Allen said. "Absolutely, we felt like we got better."
It all depends, though, on how Flynn fits in, right?