Former Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck agreed to a two-year, $8 million deal with the Colts last week with the understanding that he will back-up Andrew Luck. However, the fact that Hasselbeck is now the "former" Tennessee quarterback still hasn't quite sunk in yet for the 14-year veteran signal caller.
Recently, Hasselbeck confided to Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean that the last week has been a pretty major upheaval in his life:
So when Hasselbeck found out last week the Titans were releasing him, he immediately thought of his three young children — daughters Annabelle and Mallory as well as son Henry — and how to deliver the news. One by one, they were told. It was emotional.
Later that night, Hasselbeck agreed to terms with the Colts. A week later, it’s still a blur.
"I’m still in shock a little bit. It happened so fast," he said. "But there’s no reason for anyone to feel bad for me; I’ve sort of sensed that at times when I’ve talked to friends and teammates. It’s unfortunate it went down the way it did, and it’s hard on the kids. But you have to move on and I have to focus on all the good that came from the experience here in Nashville."
I'll play the cynic here and say that, unless Hasselbeck is completely dense, the writing was on the wall that the Titans were going to get rid of him. The head coach in Tennessee, Mike Munchak, is on a seat so hot his butt cheeks are sun burnt. His job is also tied to the success or failure of quarterback Jake Locker, who was drafted No. 8 overall in 2011. Locker has been awful since coming into the league, and if not for the steady quarterback play of Hasselbeck the last two years, the Titans are picking in the Top 5 in 2011 and 2012.
However, as long as Hasselbeck was in Nashville, Locker could never develop. Basically, the time had come to just throw the kid out there. If Locker plays well and the Titans win in 2013, Munchak and the coaching staff keep their jobs. If he continues to play as he's done since the Titans reached for him in '11, Munchak is toast. It's literally that simple. 2013 is the year of reckoning for both Munchak and Locker.
Also, Hasselbeck's contract in Tennessee put the Titans in a bit of a bind:
Hasselbeck knew his $5.5 million salary was too high for the Titans, and he said he was willing to take a significant pay cut. Early on, the conversations were positive, he said, but it became clear the Titans were not going to rise above a certain amount.
While Hasselbeck didn’t want to discuss the amount, indications are the offer was less than $3 million. The Titans, however, were in a difficult position. Without a pay cut, Hasselbeck would count $7.5 million against the salary cap because of $2 million in a prorated signing bonus.
It's worth noting that, after releasing Hasselbeck, the Titans signed former Bills interception machine Ryan Fitzpatrick to a two-year, $6.5 million deal. It seems reasonable to assume that the money they gave Fitzpatrick is the same deal they offered Hasselbeck. If I'm Hasselbeck, that offer is kind of insulting.
In the end, Hasselbeck got a pretty sweet deal with Indianapolis, and the city is roughly a five-hour drive by car to his family in Nashville (straight down I-69), or a one hour flight.
Also, if Hasselbeck is hiding any resentment with the Titans for how they treated him, he gets two opportunities this season to help Andrew Luck torch their secondary.