Two years ago, the Indianapolis Colts signed veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck to backup the young Andrew Luck and tutor him as Luck adjusted to the NFL. It was a two-year, $7.25 million deal for Hasselbeck as the backup quarterback, and it paid dividends. Not only has Hasselbeck become Luck's best friend on the team, the veteran also has served as a valuable sounding board and clipboard-holder for one of the game's best young stars.
But now, with Luck entering his fourth season and Hasselbeck's contract expiring this offseason, the question must be asked: should the Colts re-sign Hasselbeck?
Over the past two seasons, Hasselbeck has appeared in seven games, all in garbage time in relief role of Luck. He has completed 37 of 56 passes (66.1%) for 431 yards, two touchdowns and an interception for a passer rating of 93.7. Those are very good numbers for a backup quarterback in relief appearances. Over his 16-year career, Hasselbeck has completed 60.4% of his passes for 34,948 yards, 203 touchdowns and 148 interceptions for a passer rating of 82.3. He is a three-time Pro Bowler and led the Seattle Seahawks to the Super Bowl in 2005.
Talent-wise, Hasselbeck is still a very good option as a backup quarterback in the NFL despite being 39-years old. Character-wise, Hasselbeck is a tremendous influence in the locker room. Mentor-wise, Hasselbeck has provided a good deal of help to Andrew Luck. And the quarterback has made it clear that he plans on returning to the NFL in 2015. But the big question is what the Colts would have to pay him to return to the team. Part of the decision might be influenced by whether the Colts choose to extend Andrew Luck's contract this offseason or next, because whenever that happens they'll almost certainly have a young backup on a minimal contract - because they'll be paying Luck quite possibly around $25 million per year. If Luck plays one more season on his rookie deal, however, the Colts might be able to spend a bit more on a backup quarterback like Hasselbeck for another year.
Ultimately, I think the Colts will make Matt Hasselbeck an offer to return but won't break the bank to do so. If the veteran quarterback can get more money elsewhere or if he thinks he can have a bigger role with another team, he might leave, but I don't think the market for a 39-year old quarterback will be that high. I don't think the Colts will pay a ton to bring back Hasselbeck, but they have the cap room to do so and especially if Luck plays another year on his rookie deal, the team won't find a better backup quarterback than Matt Hasselbeck. As long as they're not paying him a lot (this is very important with all of these free agents we look at but in particular Hasselbeck), it wouldn't be a bad move for the team to bring him back. It actually happening is definitely far from certain, however.