The signing of Matt Hasselbeck has Indianapolis Colts fans divided. Some are outraged by the large contract, while others are happy that the team brought in a backup plan in the event that Andrew Luck goes down.
However, when you really think about, is there such a thing as a backup plan at the quarterback position?
Hasselbeck was signed for a two-year deal for $8 million over the contract. Ryan Grigson had a lot of cap room over the offseason and gave a big contract to a veteran quarterback just in case the future of the franchise gets injured.
The idea of a backup plan at the quarterback position has become a huge misconception in the NFL today. General managers actively look for veteran players to come in and give big contracts so they can be that safety blanket.
Think back to 2011, when Peyton Manning missed the entire season for the Colts. They were stuck with names like Kerry Collins and Curtis Painter, who clearly weren’t “ideal” backups.
However, what if the team had brought in a legitimate backup plan? Where would the franchise be at right now?
The team certainly wouldn’t have gone 2-14 for the year, but they also wouldn’t have been as good as if Manning was under center. Luck wouldn’t have been taken by the Colts, and the team would have been in the worst situation in the NFL.
The Pittsburgh Steelers dealt with this issue just last season, with Ben Roethlisberger dealing with injuries throughout the year. With Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich stepping up when he missed time, the team was able to finish the season at 8-8 without a playoff appearance or a solid draft pick.
Think back to the Dallas Cowboys in 2010, when Tony Romo only played six games in the season. Rather than the team falling to pieces, veteran Jon Kitna was able to come in and hold his own. He threw for 2,365 yards, 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions while leading the team to a 4-6 record.
The team finished with a 6-10 record, once again without a playoff appearance and a No. 9 draft pick. Rather than being able to grab a guy like Von Miller, A.J. Green, Julio Jones, Patrick Peterson or Aldon Smith, the Cowboys picked Tyron Smith. He’s been a consistent starter for the team, but hasn’t been an impact player like other guys from the 2011 draft.
While no one wants to root for their favorite team to lose, it’s just as bad to watch a team limp through the season with a backup quarterback only to miss the playoffs.
If Luck went down for the Colts, the situation would likely be similar. The Colts are still rebuilding, and a solid veteran backup could only stunt the team’s growth.
This isn’t bashing Hasselbeck in any way. He has done a very good job over his career, even leading the Seattle Seahawks to a Super Bowl appearance against the Steelers in 2006. However, he is currently 37 years old and wouldn’t be able to play at the same level as Luck in 2013.
If the Colts brought in Hasselbeck to help teach Luck about the West Coast offensive scheme in the NFL, it’s perfectly understandable. He's a very knowledgeable player who understands the ins and outs of the game, and will be able to teach the young quarterback more than a few things. However, for $8 million, it’s pretty clear that the misconception of backup quarterbacks is still present in the NFL today.
The days of Manning and Jim Sorgi are gone in Indianapolis. The new generation of the NFL is all about the passing game, and teams will continue to ensure safety at the position, even if it leads to mediocrity.