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The Quarterback that should be on the Jets radar…and it is not Peyton!

By Kevin Leary, Jr.

Unlike every other blogger, journalist, and pundit covering the NFL free agency rumors swirling around today, I’m not going to be writing about Peyton Manning. Sure, Peyton is a great player, and if he is healthy, he would be a very tempting acquisition for the Jets to improve the position of signal caller. That “if” is a rather large if though, especially considering the other options at QB who are active in their free agency pursuit.

Unlike Peyton, there is another QB who was given the green light for free agency by his team who is healthy, on the right side of 30, and wouldn’t come at nearly as high a price point as Peyton. This mystery QB is none other than Green Bay Packers backup QB Matt Flynn.

Flynn, who just completed his fourth year in Green Bay as backup to the all-powerful Aaron Rodgers, is an ideal fit if the Jets would like to upgrade the QB position. At 26, he is young enough for the Jets to build around him as their franchise QB. He doesn’t come with any potential season/career ending injuries, and his asking price would be nowhere near the $28 million dollar price tag that Peyton would most certainly require.

While relatively light on playing time, he has only started for the Packers in two regular season games, Flynn has shown great promise. Starting in place of the injured Rodgers, Flynn would take the field against the New England Patriots on December 19, 2010. Flynn would complete 23 of 37 passes for over 250 yards in a narrow 31-27 loss. Flynn’s second start would come this past January 1 against the Detroit Lions. Flynn would throw for 480 yards and six touchdowns in a 45-41 win over the Lions, a performance which set a Packer franchise record for passing yards and touchdowns in a single game. Not exactly an easy feat considering that Rodgers is the starting QB and their immediate predecessor was Bret Favre.

Flynn also amassed a pretty impressive record as a college QB for the Louisiana State University Tigers. Flynn, who was red shirted his first two years, would go on to become the starting QB for the Tigers in the 2007 season as a fifth year senior. He would go on to pass for over 3000 yards and 31 touchdowns during the 2007 season, leading LSU to a win over Ohio State in the BCS Championship game, where he would receive the award for offensive MVP of the game.

However, some of his detractors are making their feelings quite known. As has been reported elsewhere, some anonymous executives in the NFL organization say that Flynn doesn’t have what it takes to be an elite QB outside Green Bay. They say he lacks arm strength, and is only able to play at such a high degree because of the system that Mike McCarthy and the Green Bay coaching staff have created.

But I just don’t see it. Every game that I have watched Flynn play, whether pro or college, he seemed like a natural at the QB position. While his arm strength may not be earth shattering, he always seems able to make the plays needed no matter the distance, as evidence by his college and pro stats. He also resembles Rodgers in his ability to be mobile outside the pocket while scrambling to make the big plays, which is a trait that is becoming more a necessity than a luxury these days in the NFL. But the most important quality that he shares with Rodgers is the uncanny ability to remain calm under pressure. It doesn’t matter how big the spotlight or the gravity of the play, Flynn seems capable of handling the enormous amount of responsibility that the QB position entails. This last aspect is something that is surely lacking in the present signal caller for the Jets.

So, while the easy money on where Flynn will land after free agency is the Miami Dolphins, where former Green Bay Offensive Coordinator Joe Philbin is now head coach, I hope the New York Jets prove that conventional wisdom wrong, and snag what could be the QB bargain of the year, if not the decade.

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