Patriots Insider spoke with Ravens beat writer Aaron Wilson, who has covered Flynn during his time in Baltimore. Wilson provided some insight as to why Flynn was let go, and what he offers a team like the New England Patriots.
"Mike Flynn is a tough, smart veteran with excellent technique and game experience," said Wilson. "He's a very good locker room guy as far as leadership and a very good person in the community and with the media."
Certainly what Wilson describes fits the mold of the perfect Patriot. Though, if Flynn was such a great catch, there must be some drawbacks to his game.
"He is not very big and has had some knee problems nag him over the past two years," Wilson continued. "He can get overwhelmed at times at the point of attack by very big nose guards, but his smarts usually wins out in those battles at the line of scrimmage."
The Patriots have linemen with issues. Stephen Neal continues to struggle with health issues, namely his shoulder and his knee, both issues bothered him in the Super Bowl. Starting center Dan Koppen is practicing, but has had his own issues, and his backup Russ Hochstein has missed a significant amount of practice time recently.
If the Patriots are going to make a push to lead the division early, then they'll need an offensive line that can protect the team's most valuable player - Tom Brady.
Center Mike Flynn #62 of the Baltimore Ravens motions at the line of scrimmage during the game against the Cleveland Browns on September 24, 2006 at Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. Baltimore defeated Cleveland 15-14. (Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images)
Baltimore has had its own share of line protection problems, including the void left by retiring lineman Jonathan Ogden. According to Wilson, Flynn was a victim of the rebuilding process in Baltimore.
"They cut him primarily for cap reasons and because they were ushering in a youth movement," he said.
According to reports, the move to release Flynn saved the Ravens approximately $2 million in cap space. With new deals to be made on their own players, including Ray Lewis who is set to become a free agent in 2009, the Ravens need to build cap space. They re-signed center Jason Brown to a one-year $1.4 million deal to bolster the offensive line.
What does Flynn bring to the table?
"I think he's valuable as a starter or a backup," Wilson offered. "He has played guard in the past, but is basically a center strictly now."
In New England, playing guard and center is Hochstein and Billy Yates' primary responsibilities. If Neal, Yates and Hochstein struggle to return to the lineup, it may be Flynn's turn to protect Brady. For the New England native, that may not be such a bad job.
To read more on Flynn's reaction to being cut by Baltimore after a decade
of service, see this
Feb 28 article from Raven's insider
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and
the Annapolis Capitol. His articles can be found on RavensInsider.com.