NFL: Seattle Seahawks' Decade-Long Matt Hasselbeck Era Ended by Free-Agency

Sean BabcockCorrespondent IINovember 30, 2016

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 16:  Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck #8 of the Seattle Seahawks reacts while taking on the Chicago Bears in the 2011 NFC divisional playoff game at Soldier Field on January 16, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Matt Hasselbeck first showed up on the scene in Seattle more than 10 years ago, when the Brett Favre backup followed his former Green Bay coach Mike Holmgren to the Emerald City.

After two seasons of battling for a starting spot, Hasselbeck earned the coveted starting role in 2003, and has been the Seahawks' starting quarterback ever since.

Hasselbeck's role on the Seattle team will live on in franchise lore forever, having led the Seahawks to five playoff appearances, and the first Super Bowl appearance in team history.

He was a Pro Bowl selection three times, an All Pro selection in 2005 and holds a wide array of club records, including highest passer-rating, most 300-plus yard passing games, most consecutive attempts without an interception and holds the distinct honor of being the only Seahawks QB to ever lead the team to a 13-win season.

Without a doubt, Hasselbeck's years in Seattle were the most iconic, and most successful, years in the history of the Seahawks organization.

But that era is now officially over, as the end of NFL lockout and Hasselbeck's status as an unrestricted free agent has brought the final and conclusive decision about Hasselbeck's future with the Seahawks: There won't be one.

Hasselbeck's starting role as a Seahawk was brought into question last year when he was benched during the conclusive season finale against the St. Louis Rams, as coach Pete Carroll opted instead to field Charlie Whitehurst in the game that clinched the division and made the Seahawks the first team to ever reach the playoffs with a losing record.

Hasselbeck's season was riddled with injuries and inconsistencies on the field that led many Seahawks fans to question whether he was really the best choice to start for Seattle.

Hasselbeck, however, silenced critics in the first round of the playoffs against the New Orleans Saints, regaining his starting spot and leading the team to a historic victory over the defending Super Bowl champions, making the Seahawks the first losing-record to team to win a playoff game, as well.

The role that Hasselbeck would play in the coming season, given his free-agency status, was one that many Seattle fans have considered throughout the offseason and the NFL lockout. But the Seahawks often hinted at a desire to re-sign the Seattle favorite as soon as the lockout ended.

While Hasselbeck's future in the NFL is unknown at this point, the Seahawks' quarterback questions are already being addressed, as it was revealed immediately after the news of Hasselbeck's departure broke that the team had reached an agreement with former Minnesota Vikings QB Tarvaris Jackson, who is expected to win the first-team spot over Whitehurst in the coming season.