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Arizona Cardinals

Updated Mar 14, 2012 - 10:30 am

QB Roulette: If Manning to Titans, Hasselbeck to Cardinals?

The Cardinals want Peyton Manning.

Having brought the former Colt in for a visit, it's obvious the team is looking to upgrade the QB position, not being totally content with Kevin Kolb and John Skelton.

However, Manning is receiving plenty of interest from other teams, including the Denver Broncos and Tennesee Titans. And, while the QB heading to Denver wouldn't really affect the Cardinals, him signing in Tennessee could.

As ESPN's Mike Sando notes, Manning in Nashville would lead to Matt Hasselbeck getting the boot, and, since the Cardinals expressed interest in the former Seahawk last year, one could begin connecting some dots.

The Cardinals could make room for Hasselbeck by declining to pay a $7 million bonus due to Kevin Kolb by Friday. We're dealing in the hypothetical at this point, but so are the teams. As much as the Cardinals want Manning, they must prepare alternate strategies. They could have a choice between Kolb and Hasselbeck if Manning landed in Tennessee. Hasselbeck would upgrade the position on the field, in my view, while giving the Cardinals a veteran mentor for Skelton.

Sando goes on to mention that while Hasselbeck and Kolb had similar QB ratings last season (82.4 to 81.1), the veteran signal caller had a significantly better Total QBR, which takes into account not only a QB's stats, but how each play impacts a game and his team's chances of winning.

For the season Hasselbeck completed 61.6 percent of his passes, throwing 18 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. His top receiver, Kenny Britt, played in just three games, and yet he was still able to guide the Titans to a 9-7 record. So, it's not as if the guy can't play anymore, and in Arizona he'd have that Larry Fitzgerald guy to throw too.

Another thing Hasselbeck would bring is a knowledge of the NFC West after spending 10 seasons in the division. At 36, Hasselbeck may not have much in the tank, but then again, how much does Manning have left? While he's not as accomplished as Manning, he would not be a bad option should the Cardinals decide they do not want to keep Kolb around, Manning or no Manning.


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