How Much Better Does Matt Flynn Really Make the Oakland Raiders?

The Oakland Raiders aren’t dancing around the issue. After the team traded for quarterback Matt Flynn and shipped Carson Palmer to the desert, head coach Dennis Allen said the Raiders absolutely felt like they got better.

The only way that’s possible is if a quarterback with two career starts is better than the one with 121 career starts. That seems totally crazy at face value, because Palmer isn’t a bad quarterback and Flynn is unproven. You could find many people arguing that the Raiders actually got worse with the quarterback change. Of course, there’s a lot more here than meets the eye.

Flynn can make the Raiders better in three very different ways. If he turns into a franchise quarterback, the Raiders will be better off than having the average Palmer. If Flynn himself is an average starter, then he will buy the Raiders time to find a franchise quarterback at a fraction of the cost of Palmer. If Flynn is a total disaster, the Raiders will likely have their choice of a quarterback in the 2014 NFL draft.

The nice thing about Flynn is that he can be anywhere from amazing to terrible and he still makes the Raiders better in the long term. In the short term, Flynn can also be better than Palmer based on a couple of key factors.



Flynn will be 28 and Palmer will be 33 next season. The latter’s skills are already declining by this point, but Flynn is hitting his prime. Sometimes it’s that simple.

Mike Klis of the Denver Post did some research back in 2010 and found the prime age of quarterbacks to be between 29 and 30.

"I've always felt it was right around 29 or 30," said Ron Jaworski of ESPN (via Klis). "It just seems that there's a maturity level that a quarterback reaches where that cerebral capacity now matches the physical capacity.

"It's that perfect storm where your physical talent meets your mental ...

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