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Report: Matt Hasselbeck could be a "valued free agent" this offseason

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen, Colts backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck could be a "valued free agent" this offseason if he wishes to continue playing.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

In today's NFL, teams are always looking for a franchise player at the most important position in the game, but there's a shortage of truly reliable quarterbacks in the league.  That's why some teams struggle every year - they can't find a quarterback.

The Indianapolis Colts have a franchise player at the position in Andrew Luck, but they decided to also invest in a backup for Luck - perhaps influenced by the 2011 disaster that the Colts endured.  They signed veteran Matt Hasselbeck in 2013 and, for two seasons, he served only as the backup quarterback, playing in spot duty when need be but never in an important situation.  Thus, when they re-signed him in 2015, there were some questions about how necessary it was.  Those questions have long since ceased, as Hasselbeck has been as important as any player in helping save the Colts' season and keep them alive in the playoff hunt.

With Andrew Luck having missed five games (and counting), Hasselbeck has come in and completed 113 of 176 passes (64.2%) for 1,192 yards (6.77 yards per attempt), eight touchdowns, and four interceptions for a passer rating of 89.5, helping lead the Colts to a 4-1 record during the games he has started.

Though he's 40 years old, teams notice when a quarterback plays well, and that has been true of Hasselbeck this year.  Therefore, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen, a couple of NFL general managers think that Hasselbeck will be able to earn some money in the offseason as a free agent if he wishes to keep playing, perhaps being a "valued free agent."  According to the report, two general managers think Hasselbeck could get a deal around $5 million to serve as a backup for a team, whether that's one with a younger quarterback (Marcus Mariota and the Titans is suggested here) or a team with an established quarterback (Matt Ryan and the Falcons is suggested here).  Hasselbeck has shown that he can step in and play when necessary while providing a veteran presence, leadership, and a sounding board for the starting quarterback.

Of course, the question becomes whether Hasselbeck will wish to play another year and, perhaps more importantly, whether he would want to start over with a new team for the final year or two of his career.  It's likely that the Colts might wish to re-sign him as backup if he desires to keep playing after his success this year, so perhaps he would opt to stay in this situation and hope to be a part of a Super Bowl team that way.

What does seem more and more certain, however, as Schefter and Mortensen's report corroborates, is that Hasselbeck could have some teams giving him a call after the season once free agency begins if he wants to keep playing.  Quarterbacks are hard to come by in today's NFL, and finding a reliable backup is perhaps even harder (as we've seen clearly league-wide this year).  Because of that, it's quite possible that Matt Hasselbeck could be a sought-after option for some teams looking to add a veteran backup at the position after seeing what Hasselbeck has done this year.