Tennessee Titans release quarterback Matt Hasselbeck

5:01 PM, Mar 18, 2013   |    comments
Matt Hasselbeck
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The Titans have released veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, the team confirmed.

The 37-year-old, 14-year pro was entering the third and final year of his $20 million contract, and was scheduled to make $5.5 million in base salary. Including bonus money, he would have counted $7.5 million against the salary cap.

The Titans and Hasselbeck's agent had been discussing a restructured contract that would have cut the quarterback's salary, but the sides were making no progress. The Titans were willing to add an extra year to the contract to make it a more cap-friendly deal, according to sources.

"I want to thank Matt for his contributions to our team over the last two years," said Titans general manager Ruston Webster. "He was an important part of the transition process -- he was a pro at every turn and he provided an example to the rest of the team. I know that we are a better team for his being here and we wish him the best."

Last week Hasselbeck said he knew that being released was a possibility.

"Well, yeah, if we can't come to an agreement, I guess that's what they'd have to do. That's just how it goes," Hasselbeck said. "Right now I'm working out hard, getting prepared and ready, trying to have the best year I can. Again, I'm really hopeful that it's here, but I understand that some things are more out of your control."

The release leaves the Titans with returning starter Jake Locker, third-stringer Rusty Smith and Nathan Enderle. Locker, the former University of Washington star, and Hasselbeck, the longtime Seattle Seahawks quarterback, are good friends.

"(I'm) sad to see Matt go," Locker said. "I understand the business side of this game and am thankful for what he has taught me. He is a great football player and even better person and I wish him nothing but the best."

As for a potential replacement for Hasselbeck, the Titans met with former Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, the top free agent at the position, during the ongoing NFL owners meetings in Phoenix.

Fitzpatrick declined comment to The Tennessean today.

The Bengals have also expressed interest in Fitzpatrick, who was Cincinnati's backup for two seasons before landing in Buffalo. Last season Fitzpatrick was 308-of-505 passing for 3,400 yards, with 24 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.

Other free agents include Brady Quinn, Kevin Kolb and Jason Campbell.

The timing of the release allows Hasselbeck, who spent two seasons with the Titans, to talk with other teams.

As the starter in 2011, he produced the fourth-highest passing total in Oilers/Titans history and the third-highest of his career, with 3,571 yards. The Titans finished 9-7.

Last season as Locker's backup, he was called into action for five starts after Locker suffered a shoulder injury and played in three other games as well. He passed for 1,367 yards and seven touchdowns. The Titans finished 6-10.

In 14 seasons, Hasselbeck has 34,517 passing yards and 201 touchdowns.


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