Replacing Hasselbeck tough task for Titans

March, 18, 2013
3/18/13
4:45
PM ET
Matt Hasselbeck’s been a more valuable influence on Jake Locker and a more important leader for the Tennessee Titans than most people know.

[+] EnlargeMatt Hasselbeck
Don McPeak/USA TODAY SportsWith the Titans for two seasons, veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is now in search of a new team to play for this season.
But the Titans parted ways with him Monday, unable to find common ground that would drive down the quarterback's cap number of $7.5 million.

The move saves the Titans $5.5 million cap dollars but also puts them in the market for a veteran backup behind a starter who’s hardly established.

Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean reported that the team spoke to quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, recently released by Buffalo, at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix.

Hasselbeck joined the team in 2011 and brought veteran leadership from the quarterback position as the franchise tried to recover from Vince Young.

He was the starter that year ahead of Locker, but the Titans judged Locker to have won the job in 2012. Hasselbeck started five games while Locker dealt with a shoulder injury and played in eight.

I believe both sides agreed the cap number of $7.5 million and a base salary of $5.5 million were too high in the third year of a three-year deal.

The team could not find something with which both sides could be happy -- including, I believe, at least one scenario that meant adding an additional year to the contract.

Will Hasselbeck find a better situation?

The Indianapolis Colts need a backup to replace Drew Stanton, and Hasselbeck probably has a skill set that could fit in Pep Hamilton’s new system featuring West Coast principles. But Hasselbeck would get no work in Indianapolis barring an injury to Andrew Luck.

Buffalo, Jacksonville, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Arizona are all unsettled at the quarterback position. But the Eagles and Cardinals may have their candidates for the job already assembled, and I’m not sure the Jaguars will skew older.

Maybe Hasselback gets a look from the Bills or Browns, or maybe he’s a veteran backup solution in a spot like San Francisco.

Other veteran options beyond Fitzpatrick are limited. Jason Campbell and Kevin Kolb are other possibilities. If you don’t like those, the list takes a substantial dip from there.

Tennessee still has third-stringer Rusty Smith, but he’s played in one terrible game and wouldn’t amount to someone Locker could lean on or an alternative the the Titans could count on.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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