The Raiders are hoping the acquisition of quarterback Matt Flynn on Monday and the impending exit of Carson Palmer works out as well as a similar move in 1999, when Jeff George was jettisoned in favor of unrestricted free agent Rich Gannon.
Flynn was acquired from the Seattle Seahawks for a fifth-round draft pick in 2014 and a conditional pick in 2015. Like Gannon, Flynn has bided his time as a backup and is known more for his preparation and leadership ability than his arm.
Palmer was awaiting word of a reported trade to the Arizona Cardinals for a mid-round draft pick. He was informed by the Raiders on Saturday he was no longer in their plans after resisting a salary reduction from his scheduled $13 million,
A former No. 1 overall draft pick, Palmer piled up impressive statistics but had an 8-16 record as a Raiders starter after arriving by trade in 2011 for a first- and a second-round pick.
George, also a No. 1 overall pick with a big arm, was 7-16 as an Oakland starter before the Raiders declined to pay a scheduled bonus, allowing him to become a free agent. Gannon's signing helped ignite a run of three AFC West titles from 2000-02.
Raiders coach Dennis Allen declined to address the perception that it was Palmer's decision to walk away, even though he reportedly could have made more money with the Raiders.
"When we looked at it, both from his standpoint and our standpoint, we just realized it was time for us to move on and move forward, and we felt like Matt Flynn gave us a great option," Allen said by conference call.
Flynn, who was unavailable for comment, spent four seasons as the backup for Aaron Rodgers with the Green Bay Packers, coming in as a seventh-round pick out of LSU, the 12th of 13 quarterbacks taken in 2008.
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie was a personnel executive in Green Bay when Flynn was drafted and developed. Flynn will compete with third-year player Terrelle Pryor for the starting job.
"I believe Matt has that potential, but I also know he hasn't had enough experience," McKenzie said in a prepared statement. "We're going to let him compete and battle, and (we'll) see what happens."
Flynn was viewed as the probable starter after signing a three-year, $26 million contract with the Seahawks, but he was beaten out by third-round pick Russell Wilson, who led Seattle to the playoffs and became its quarterback of the future.
The Raiders have reworked Flynn's contract and will pay him $6.5 million guaranteed for the 2013 season. Flynn would have made $5.25 million had he stayed in Seattle, but only $2 million was guaranteed if the Seahawks cut him.
Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy, who was Gannon's quarterbacks coach in Kansas City, was the first to compare Flynn to his former pupil. As for Gannon, he liked what he saw of Flynn, but he said in a radio interview on Sacramento radio station CBS-1140 that the task in Oakland is enormous.
Gannon had 58 NFL starts and had thrown more than 1,000 passes when the Raiders signed him. Flynn has thrown 141 passes and made two starts.
"I just don't know that he's going to be up to the challenge when you look at the roster and the personnel around him, to be able to take this team and make them a playoff team in the next year or two," Gannon said. "If he's able to do that, he's going to be a star."
At LSU, Flynn spent three seasons after a redshirt year backing up Marcus Randall and JaMarcus Russell before leading the Tigers to the national championship after Russell graduated and was taken No. 1 overall by the Raiders.
"He won a national championship at LSU, he was on a world championship team with the Packers," Allen said. "This is a guy that understands the things it takes to win a championship."
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