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Hasselbeck Needs to Take Pay Cut, Pryor Wants An Opportunity

Now that NFL teams have tagged their players, the next hurdle is signing ones before free agency starts on March 12. Some players have been asked to take pay cuts while others will test the free market.

Tennessee Titans veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck has been relegated to a backup role and knows he needs to take a pay cut or face looking for a new team.

Oakland Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer is also facing a pay cut but he has a different situation: back up Terrelle Pryor is chomping at the bit to take over his starting role.

The Old: Hasselbeck

Matt Hasselbeck edits

Titans QB Matt Hasselbeck

On Thursday, Hasselbeck said his agent and the team are discussing a contract restructure but if that doesn’t work out, he may be cut.

He’d like to remain with the team and said, “I believe in what we’re doing.  I believe in (general manager) Ruston Webster and (coach) Mike Munchak. I believe in my teammates like Jake (Locker),” Hasselbeck said. “But … anything can happen. Surprises come. We’ll see. I don’t know. Some of it is out of my hands, and some of it is in my hands.”

There’s a money problem as Hasselbeck, 37, comes with a 2013 $5.5 million base salary for the last year of his contract and with his bonus, this counts as $7.5 million in salary cap.

While Jake Locker is the team’s starting quarterback, last season Hasselbeck played in eight games with five as a starter. He went 138 for 221 passing (62.4 percent), 1,367 yards, seven touchdowns and five picks with a 81.0 passer rating.

But is he a $5.5 million backup? For other teams, a solid backup quarterback could be more urgent. The Titans have 66 to 1 odds for a Super Bowl win next season.

The Wannabe: Terrelle Pryor

Terrelle Pryor edits

Raiders QB Terrelle Pryor

Rumors are swirling that Oakland Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer will need to take a pay cut to remain on the team’s roster. He addressed this on Tuesday and said he’s willing to play the waiting game but he’s “not sure what’s going to happen. Would love to be back in Oakland and compete.”

For 2013, Palmer will make $13 million with a $15 million base salary for the 2014-2016 seasons with a $17.335 million salary cap for those years. Should he remain on the roster five days following the Super Bowl in 2015, his contract for 2015 and 2016 will void, reported CSNBayArea.com.

Is he a $13 million quarterback? Last season was decent with his 4,018 passing yards over 14-plus games, 22 touchdowns (second-greatest number since 2007) and 14 picks. Palmer’s passing yards represented the second-highest single season total in Raiders’ history.

Ambitious back up quarterback Terrelle Pryor is ready to compete against Palmer. The day after Palmer said he’d participate in the waiting game, Pryor piped up that he’s “more than ready” to compete for the team’s 2013 starting role.

He said via ESPN, “Right now I’m trying to win over my coaches, win over my teammates and everybody in the facility and let them know that I wanna be a leader, a great leader, and I’m there for the long haul, and I wanna win just as bad as everybody else. And that’s what I want to prove to everybody before I really get into talks of starting and stuff like that.”

The team is on board with giving him a chance. Both Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie has said Pryor will have an opportunity to compete and just last month, the team’s new offensive coordinator Greg Olson said he looks forward to seeing what Pryor does in offseason workouts and in minicamps.

He started in one game last season against the San Diego Chargers. He completed less than half of his passes for 150 total yards and threw for two touchdowns; he also ran for 49 yards and a score. The team lost 24-21.

But is he a leader?

The Raiders are also a dark horse for next year’s Super Bowl win: 100 to 1 odds.




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