Matt Hasselbeck & His Rumored Connection to the Tennesee Titans

NFL.com's Michael Fabiano is the latest in a growing group of respected NFL writers to jump on the bandwagon that's taking Matt Hasselbeck to the Tennesee Titans this summer. In a recent blog, he said that, "if you ask me, the Titans' No. 1 quarterback isn't yet on the roster - that quarterback is Matt Hasselbeck. As John Glennon of the Nashville Tennessean reminds us, Palmer and Hasselbeck have long been friends. What's more, Hasselbeck is a nice fit for the offense and could be a great stopgap while Locker better learns the pro game. His presence in the offense would also make Kenny Britt (barring a league-imposed suspension for his off-field issues) a more attractive breakout candidate." 

He mentions John Glennon of the Nashville Tennessean, who created a stir recently by reminding everyone that "Titans' [Offensive Coordinator, Chris] Palmer says he's known veteran QB Mat Hasselbeck since 1986. Also knows entire Hasselbeck family well."

During Titan's OC Chris Palmer's recent conference call with fans, he had this to say about the Seahawks' possibly former QB, "I've known Matt since 1986. We lived in the same town. He was in high school (in Massachusetts). I've known him a long time. I know Timmy, his brother. I know their dad. I have a home in Cape Cod, so I see them off and on. Hasselbeck is a good player and has an outstanding career."

Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean anything. The front office is ultimately responsible for signings and though Palmer could urge his bosses to sign Hasselbeck, it would be up to them. In this case though, they too have a connection with Matt. Titans General manager Mike Reinfeldt, vice president of player personnel Ruston Webster and director of pro scouting Lake Dawson have all spent time in Seattle and know Hasselbeck well. This could be a big deal as the Titans have made it no secret that they're going to bring in a veteran QB in the offseason. 

According to Titans' insider Jim Wyatt, GM Mike Reinfeldt told him: "We'd still like a guy that's been a seasoned guy that could step in and play. I don't think we want to put the pressure on Jake to have to do it. I think we want to be able to let him go at his own pace. I think (Jake) is going to be able to go faster than people think he can, but I think we need to have a veteran that we can throw in for a bunch of the season and be comfortable with him for winning games."

Wyatt added, "Reinfeldt said he envisions signing a veteran to two-year contract, but that player will have to be willing to accept moving over for the rookie if he's on the fast track."

Hasselbeck has been further linked to the Titans because of his working relationship with Jake Locker over the summer. The Titans are undoubtedly looking for someone to mentor their new franchise QB and because Hass and Locker already have established rapport, Matt becomes that much more of an attractive target. Hasselbeck had some interesting things to say about Locker even before the draft when it was rumored the Hawks could draft the QB out of Washinton. He told Patriots beat writer Greg Bedard (per Doug Farrar):

"He's a great kid, just a wonderful, wonderful guy. I feel like he's the kind of guy who would be a great leader on a football team. Just really, really gifted and talented. Almost off the charts with his strength and explosiveness and his running ability. I've just seen him play a little bit, but just an awesome guy to be around. He's just got some of those qualities that you just can't coach.

"And I understand it could be a reality with me this year, whether it's with the Seahawks or wherever that I'm with a guy like that, a young guy.''

"I was fortunate in my career to be around some great veteran quarterbacks and just learned so much from them, I'm kind of excited for that kind of an opportunity to maybe be on a team with a really talented young guy and just get the opportunity to pay that forward just a little bit, things that I've learned along the way. If I can share that with a really talented guy that's willing to work and listen, that could be a really fun thing. And at the same time hopefully be on a really good team.''

So Matt has already sort of vaguely conceded that he's open and willing to act as a mentor for a young player on a contending team. Tennessee is that, and is all but guaranteeing that the veteran they bring in will initially start - which is important for a player like Hasselbeck. 

Many people believe that the Titans will just sign Kerry Collins to mentor Jake because Hasselbeck will come too expensive, most notably John Clayton, who said "(The Titans) are not gonna offer $7 million -- which is what Hasselbeck's been offered (by Seattle) -- and then have $14 million tied up in the quarterback position, and then really just have Matt as a transitional guy. ... I think Kerry Collins would be willing to accept $3, 4 or 5 million."

As I noted above, Fabiano isn't so sure - and he's not the only one. Jim Trotter and Jason La Canfora also believe that Hasselbeck will eventually sign with Tennessee as well. 

La Canfora said, ""I have a feeling maybe Hasselbeck lands in Tennessee when all is said and done. (The) market for him will be soft both in terms of quantity and quality of the offers out there, but we'll find out for sure after the lockout."

Jim Trotter said on his Twitter account recently, "no disrespect 2 nfl live, but saying jake locker will be t/ starter in week 1 is premature at best, foolish at worse. my $ is on hasselbeck." He followed up by stating, "to those correcting me, hasselbeck is NOT a seahawk. he's a free agent. as i wrote a month ago, i don't anticipate him being back w/ seattle." He finalized that discussion by adding, "last thought on matt: he's 1 of my favorites 2 cover & i'd love to see him finish up in seattle. but the nfl is a business. a COLD business."

Of course, we all saw what Peter King was saying about Hasselbeck a few weeks back and though this is all just conjecture on the part of the writers, it does make you sit up and wonder that four of the most well-connected writers in the NFL all place Hasselbeck in the same place. 

Just to be clear, by summarizing all these rumors and quotes, I'm not stating my opinion on this matter; I don't know where he'll end up and I don't think anyone does. I'd say if there's a consensus right now though, it's stating that if Hass isn't back in Seattle this season, he'll be under center for Tennessee. 

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