Tennessee Titans Should Target Matt Hasselbeck for 2011 Season

Chad Minton@@chad_mintonCorrespondent IMay 9, 2011

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 16:  Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck #8 of the Seattle Seahawks looks to throw the ball during pregame before taking on the Chicago Bears in the 2011 NFC divisional playoff game at Soldier Field on January 16, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Despite drafting quarterback Jake Locker in the NFL Draft, the question still looms on who will be the starter to open the 2011 season for the Tennessee Titans.

Most would agree that Locker isn't ready to be an NFL starter, and it's almost a certainty that both Vince Young and Kerry Collins will not be returning to the Titans next season.

That leaves Chris Simms and Rusty Smith left at quarterback position. Not exactly who you want as your starter, even if you are still rebuilding.

Under the current lockout teams are not allowed to contact unrestricted free agents, but the Titans should still be targeting a seasoned veteran to lead this team until Locker is ready.

Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt said in a recent conference call that the team has three or four veterans in mind, but he was unable to provide names due to the rules regarding the lockout.

This situation that the Titans are currently in is hauntingly similar to the 2006 season when Young was thrown into the fire when Collins had such a horrendous start to the season.

It's vital that Locker gets time to fix some of his accuracy issues before he's thrown into the fire.

The Titans do have options here when it comes to finding a veteran quarterback to take the reigns, and Matt Hasselbeck may be the perfect fit.

Hasselbeck showed last season that he's still capable of leading a team to wins on the big stage, most notably his four touchdown performance in the Seahawks upset win over the New Orleans Saints in the wild card game.

He added another three passing touchdowns in their loss to the Chicago Bears in the divisional round.

Hasselbeck's best playing days may be long gone, but he would serve as a great mentor to Locker for at least one season.

Some say he's too old, but the Titans don't need a guy that's looking for a fat contract. That's why they drafted Locker.

It also wouldn't make sense to go after a guy like Kevin Kolb that's still at the front end of his career. Where does that leave Locker if the Titans add Kolb? We certainly didn't waste a first-round pick on a guy that's never going to be more than a backup quarterback.

Carson Palmer would be a good fit, but the Cincinnati Bengals have already said they refuse to let Palmer out of his contract.

The Titans have to be delicate in whatever way they handle their first-round draft pick this time around, because they weren't with Young.

If the Titans were to add a veteran like Hasselbeck, then they would have a reasonable shot at a wild card in 2011. Their schedule is really not all that daunting, and they took care of a lot of their weak areas in the draft, most notably the linebacker position with Akeem Ayers.

Once the signing period opens back up, the Titans will have to make another move involving the quarterback position, and Hasselbeck will be a good candidate to keep the seat warm until Locker is ready to become the franchise quarterback.

Draft Pick Breakdowns: