With free agency quickly approaching, we haven't received too many details yet about what the Colts' plans are regarding their own free agents. It sounds like Matt Hasselbeck won't be in those plans, however, as NFL Media's Mike Silver reported today that the Colts have decided to move on from their backup quarterback.
If Matt Hasselbeck returns next season, I do not expect him to play for the Colts. Team's choice, not his.— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) February 28, 2016
It's unclear whether Hasselbeck will continue playing in the NFL, though he has said a number of times that he is leaning toward returning for an 18th season. Earlier this month, Hasselbeck did a sit-down interview with Colts.com and indicated the Colts would want him back, as he said that head coach Chuck Pagano told him, "we'd love to have you back." Whether things got lost in translation or not is unclear, but it now sounds like the Colts don't want the veteran back and will move on with Josh Freeman as the backup to Andrew Luck.
Hasselbeck served as the backup quarterback for the Colts for the past three seasons, and in 2015 he was thrust into the starting role. Due to injuries to Luck, Hasselbeck would up starting eight games (the most of any Colts quarterback) and played well enough to help the team stay relevant in the playoff race until the final week of the regular season, as the Colts went 5-3 with Hasselbeck under center. He completed 156 of 256 passes (60.9%) for 1,690 yards (6.6 yards per attempt), nine touchdowns, and five interceptions for a passer rating of 84.0, and he actually played quite well until injuries caught up to him and plagued the final month of his season. Overall, however, Hasselbeck did everything you could realistically expect from someone in his situation and more.
Since Hasselbeck was incredibly beat up in the 2015 season, he was forced to miss the regular season finale. The Colts signed Josh Freeman to start that game, and he played well on very limited preparation, completing 15 of 28 passes (53.6%) for 149 yards, a touchdown, and an interception while also adding 24 yards rushing. Those aren't great numbers, but considering the circumstances he did well and showed potential. The Colts have him under contract for 2016 and he'll be the favorite this offseason to win the backup job, though Stephen Morris will also likely compete in training camp. Either way, though, it sounds like Matt Hasselbeck's run as the Colts' backup is over. He did better than expected in starting eight games in 2015 and he served as a mentor, confidant, and friend to Luck for the past three seasons, certainly making a notable and significant impact on the team.