According to 710 ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Salk” show, which features former Indianapolis Colts backup quarterback Brock Huard (2002-03), current Colts quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is “strongly leaning toward playing” another season:
Whether that will be with the Colts is the underlying question, as Hasselbeck is a soon-to-be free agent.
While Hasselbeck is still a solid backup quarterback option when healthy–set to turn 41 years old in September, there’s some lingering questions about his durability at such an advanced football age.
Specifically, Hasselbeck was 4-0 in his 1st 4 starts in relief of Andrew Luck. The quarterback completed 97 of 150 pass attempts (64.7%) for 1,023 passing yards, 7 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, and a passer rating of 94.4.
However, after taking a number of big hits and subsequently suffering from a number of physical injuries, Hasselbeck’s play began to significantly dip–having been knocked out of a number of games.
The Colts went on to lose 3 of his next 4 starts under center, and Hasselbeck completed 59 of 106 passing attempts (55.7%) for 667 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions.
Regardless of what happens, the 17-year veteran Hasselbeck would likely be asked to take a pay cut from his $3M cap hit in 2015.
As a former 1st round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2009, Freeman already flashed his physical ability in the team’s regular season finale, as he put on a respectable showing despite a lack of familiarity with the offense and his receivers–having signed just a few days prior to his start.
At a big 6’6″, 240 pounds, Freeman may be better physically able to take some of the shots that a veteran quarterback like Hasselbeck simply no longer can.
That being said, Hasselbeck performed well in spot-duty when actually healthy. He remains a reliable veteran presence for Luck and has been credited with accelerating some of the young quarterback’s development.
The Colts could do much worse, as far as backup quarterback options are concerned.
For me, the bigger issue is not who the Colts ultimately go with as Luck’s backup next season, as much as it is simply improving the offensive line as a whole. The Colts were 2nd in the league in most allowed QB hits with 118 total QB hits this past season.
If you improve A (the offensive line), then you don’t have to worry about B (a backup QB) because Luck will more than likely be in the lineup regardless (*assuming he learns how to properly slide).