The Tennessee Titans have a lot of work to do this off-season if Mike Munchak wants to keep his job, and if Bud Adams wants to keep his fan base. There has been nothing but dismissals at Baptist Sports Park over the past few weeks as the Titans have let go of three position coaches and special teams coach Alan Lowry to boot. In the first news of the Titans actually wanting to retain someone, Jim Wyatt reports that Ruston Webster, Titans GM, intends to keep veteran signal caller Matt Hasselbeck around for 2013.
Hasselbeck’s cap number against the Titans will be $7.5 million if he’s kept around. There’s obvious value in having a good, competent backup in the NFL. We all saw what Kirk Cousins did for the Redskins when he stepped in and won a pivotal game for them near the end of the season. On the other hand we saw poor Joe Webb tank the Vikings season in the playoffs when Ponder couldn’t go. What would the Vikings have given to have a backup like Hasselbeck at that moment? But for the Titans, I think the issue goes beyond that and the value is greater.
Hasselbeck is a solid mentor for young Jake Locker. They had a relationship from the days they were both in Washington, and their current situation is not contentious at all. His guidance on and off the field is huge aid in the development and growth of Locker, something that many young quarterbacks don’t have the luxury of. Combine this with his ability to still play the position at a good level and the decision isn’t too hard to make. Or is it?
One could make the argument, however, that the Tennessee Titans are sitting on trade bait and could easily turn Matt Hasselbeck into a solid draft pick or two. Matt wouldn’t even be seen as a backup by a good number of teams out there. There’s seven new coaches this year and five new GM’s, and a quarterback like him could show up and stabilize a franchise quickly while they figure out how to rebuild. With as much need as there is at the position, combined with a shallow draft pool of quarterbacks, the Titans could probably flip Matt for something good.
Personally, I feel the decision to keep Matt Hasselbeck is a good one. You’ve put all your eggs in the Jake Locker basket, and keeping Hasselbeck helps Jake more than getting rid of him does. It’s a perfect combination of having a safety blanket without Jake having to look over his shoulder. It also gives Munchak a chance to salvage the season if Jake goes down to injury again or, even worse, if he isn’t ready for training camp after having shoulder surgery this off-season.
Keep or Trade?
Let me know here or on twitter @gunnelsj