Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 2/24/12
GREEN BAY, Wis. When the Packers reached an agreement Wednesday with tight end Jermichael Finley on a two-year deal, it accomplished two important things in one move. First, the team retained Finley in a simple way when the negotiations could have gotten complicated very quickly. Second, it left Green Bay's franchise tag in play. With quarterback Matt Flynn entering free agency, general manager Ted Thompson can now find a way to get back draft picks or players in exchange for Aaron Rodgers' backup. Flynn is 26 years old but has started just two games in his NFL career since being selected by the Packers in the seventh round of the 2008 draft. However, one of those two starts was a record-breaking performance, and it undoubtedly caught the attention of several NFL teams still looking for a franchise quarterback. In Week 17, Green Bay already had secured the NFC's No. 1 seed in the playoffs, but the Detroit Lions needed a win. The Packers gave Rodgers an opportunity to rest and Flynn an opportunity to shine. Six touchdown passes and 480 yards later, Flynn was the Packers' all-time single-game leader in both categories. Yes, it was only one game, but Flynn did in that one start what many NFL quarterbacks are never able to come close to doing in an entire career. That is where Thompson and the Packers can cash in. After all, it was just one year ago that the Philadelphia Eagles traded backup quarterback Kevin Kolb to the Arizona Cardinals and got back a second-round pick and a young former Pro Bowl cornerback in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Green Bay can only trade Flynn, though, if Thompson first applies the franchise tag to him. This comes at a value to Flynn of 14.4 million for the 2012 season, but the Packers would not do so with the intention of keeping Flynn. While it is considered frowned upon by the NFL to have pre-negotiated a sign-and-trade deal while use the franchise tag as leverage, it is not illegal and is done often throughout the league. And, as is the case every offseason, there are several teams desperate for a quarterback again this year who will be talking with Thompson about compensation in exchange for Flynn. The most logical fit for Flynn is the Miami Dolphins. Their top quarterback from 2011 is Matt Moore, who finished the season with 16 touchdown passes, nine interceptions and a 60.5 percent completion rate. That's not awful, but Moore is not a franchise cornerstone. The Dolphins' 0-7 start last season had them pegged as the team most likely to land Andrew Luck with the No. 1 pick in the draft, but a three-game winning streak midseason ruined their chances of that. Add in that former Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin has been hired as the new head coach of the Dolphins and there's a clear front-runner to go after Flynn. The Seattle Seahawks would also be a great trade partner for similar reasons. Seattle's top quarterback is Tarvaris Jackson, but his 14-touchdown pass, 13-interception, five-fumble 2011 season means that the Seahawks are in the market for a better option. Plus, Seattle's general manager, John Schneider, was the Packers director of football operations until 2010, so he knows Flynn well. Though the Cleveland Browns have Colt McCoy at quarterback, whom they drafted just two years ago in the third round, they are reportedly in the market for a replacement and have interest in Flynn. McCoy had 14 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions in 2011, which again is not terrible but was not nearly enough to lead the Browns into the playoffs. Lastly, there is always the possibility the Washington Redskins will spend big money to land Flynn. Team owner Dan Snyder is never stingy when it comes to adding talent, and Flynn would be a marked improvement over another season of Rex Grossman. Grossman, who lost his starting job to John Beck midway through the season but later got it back, had 16 touchdown passes and 20 interceptions in 2011. No matter who gets Flynn, they'll be getting a winner. Before falling into the final round of the 2008 draft, Flynn led LSU to a victory in the BCS National Championship game in which he was named the offensive MVP. The Packers have until March 5 to put the franchise tag on Flynn, but one thing is certain: His future is not in Green Bay given contract he'll get with our without the tag. The team of Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy have done again what they have become known for: turning a late-round pick into an asset. The only difference this time is that asset will likely pay off in a handsome trade return instead of on the field. Let the bidding begin. Follow Paul Imig on Twitter.
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