By George Bremer
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
A game of quarterback musical chairs played out Monday in the AFC South.
Veteran Matt Hasselbeck was cut in the early evening by the Tennessee Titans, and within hours reports surfaced linking the former division rival to the Indianapolis Colts.
The team made no official announcement Monday night, but a deal was expected to be reached sometime this morning.
The 37-year-old Hasselbeck has thrown for 34,517 yards and 201 touchdowns in 14 NFL seasons. He spent 10 years with the Seattle Seahawks, leading the franchise to its only Super Bowl appearance following the 2005 season. Hasselbeck was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the sixth round out of Boston College in 1998 and was traded to Seattle two years later.
He spent the past two seasons with the Titans, throwing for 3,571 yards with 18 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 2011. Last year, Hasselbeck made just five starts in relief of Jake Locker and threw for 1,367 yards with seven touchdowns and five picks.
He’ll back up second-year quarterback Andrew Luck in Indianapolis, providing another set of veteran eyes on the gameday sideline.
The Colts lost last year’s back-up, Drew Stanton, to the Arizona Cardinals early in free agency and also have second-year quarterback Chandler Harnish on the roster.
The deal comes while many fans and media continue to attempt to decipher Indianapolis owner Jim Irsay’s latest Twitter mystery. Irsay tweeted late Saturday night that the team was working on a “whopper” of a deal and later revealed the target was a wide receiver.
Momentum appeared to stall early Sunday morning, and there’s been no announcement of a trade or free-agent signing. It’s unclear whether the Hasselbeck deal means the end for the wide receiver search.
The Colts could target a wide receiver with the No. 24 overall pick in next month’s draft. The team now has six draft picks overall.
Indianapolis received a seventh-rounder — No. 254, the last overall selection — as a compensatory pick during the annual owners’ meeting in Phoenix on Monday.
The compensatory addition means the Colts will select “Mr. Irrelevant” for the second straight year.