A day after it was reported that he’d be departing, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Hasselbeck took to Twitter to say a farewell to his teammates, the Colts organization, and the city of Indianapolis:
The 18-year veteran quarterback spent the past 3 seasons as Andrew Luck‘s backup, serving as both a mentor and soundboard for the young quarterback.
However, Hasselbeck wasn’t just a glorified clipboard holder for the Colts, as he was actually called into duty this past season in relief of Luck–making 8 starts.
The Colts won Hasselbeck’s first 4 starts before a number of big hits and subsequent physical injuries began to take their toll on the 40 year old quarterback.
Still, the Colts were 5-3 in starts by Hasselbeck, and he was a big reason as to why the team finished at 8-8 and remained in the playoff hunt late in the season despite Luck missing 9 starts on the season.
Nevertheless, there’s an underlying question of whether Hasselbeck can take the physical punishment of being an NFL quarterback anymore, especially behind an offensive line that struggles in pass protection as much as the Colts.
At 40 years old and having made $3M last season, the Colts have elected to go with the younger and more cost efficient option Josh Freeman as Luck’s backup, who’s only 28 years old and is set to make a mere $760K in 2016.
From a roster perspective, if the Colts can use that extra $2.25M by no longer employing Hasselbeck to allocate toward an upgrade at say starting center or right guard, then it would be better served than on a backup position that theoretically should never play.
If the Colts take care of business and actually upgrade the offensive line, then it really shouldn’t matter who’s the backup behind Luck (assuming he learns how to properly slide).
That being said, Hasselbeck will still be greatly missed as both a veteran leader and voice within the locker room. He was well liked by coaches, teammates, management, and the local media as a whole: