Kerry Collins was the exception.
Beginning with Jeff Fisher’s first full season as head coach the most common shelf life of veteran quarterbacks with the Tennessee Titans/Houston Oilers has been two years.
That has been the case whether the player was a starter, Chris Chandler (1995-96), a backup, Dave Kreig (1997-98) or a little of both as was the case with Matt Hasselbeck, whose tenure with the team ended Monday after two seasons.
The Titans released Hasselbeck and reportedly agreed to terms with former Buffalo Bills starter Ryan Fitzpatrick on a — you guessed it — two-year deal. A formal announcement on the pact with Fitzpatrick is likely to come Tuesday.
Also, according to reports, Hasselbeck will sign a two-year, $8 million deal with the Indianapolis Colts to serve as Andrew Luck’s backup.
“I want to thank Matt for his contributions to our team over the last two years,” general manager Ruston Webster said in a release from the team. “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.”
Hasselbeck joined the Titans as a free agent shortly following the lockout that preceded the 2011 season and started every game that year. The Titans went 9-7, their only winning record in the last four seasons. His 3,571 yards and 18 touchdown passes were his highest totals in four seasons.
He was 11-10 as a starter, which gave him a better winning percentage than Chandler (11-14). Collins, who hung around for five years, also had a losing record as a starter (15-17). Only Neil O’Donnell, who was 6-2 between 1999 and 2003, was more successful among players who have filled that role in recent years.
Kreig never started a game in his two seasons as Steve McNair settled into the starter’s role full time beginning with his third season in the league. That would be the ideal situation for Fitzpatrick. He comes to Tennessee as the backup to Jake Locker, who enters his third season since he was selected eighth overall in the 2011 draft.
“I see myself being a very valuable guy in that regard,” Fitzpatrick told the Buffalo News last week after he was released. “For me, pride is never going to get in the way. But respect and pride can maybe go hand-in-hand. It's probably more respect than pride.”
Fewer than two years ago, Fitzpatrick signed a six-year, $62.2 million extension with Buffalo. He was released recently so the Bills, who changed coaches during the offseason, would not have to pay him a $3 million roster bonus he was due on March 13.
In four seasons with his former franchise he started 52 of 55 games, completed 59.8 percent of his passes and threw 80 touchdown passes with 64 interceptions. He originally was a seventh-round draft pick by St. Louis in 2005 out of Harvard.