Washington Redskins No. 3 quarterback Tim Hasselbeck is attracting some interest around the league and could visit several NFL clubs next week.
Hasselbeck, a restricted free agent tendered at the lowest level, didn’t play last season while backing up Patrick Ramsey and Mark Brunell. But he showed promise in five starts in 2003, competently running then-coach Steve Spurrier’s offense as the club played out the string of a 5-11 season.
Because Hasselbeck went undrafted out of Boston College in 2001, a team signing him away wouldn’t need to provide draft-pick compensation to the Redskins. With the low tender offer ($656,000), compensation is based on a player’s original draft round.
Hasselbeck had planned to make an unspecified trip in recent days — which the Boston Globe reported yesterday — but agent David Dunn said last night all visits have been postponed because Hasselbeck’s wife, television personality Elisabeth, is about to give birth.
“Any trips will probably have to wait until next week,” Dunn said by phone from Maui, where the NFL owners meetings were under way.
Dunn wouldn’t comment on which teams were interested in Hasselbeck. The Chicago Bears and Seattle Seahawks are among the few teams still looking for No. 2 quarterbacks, and there were some indications those clubs were eyeing Hasselbeck.
Hasselbeck’s brother, Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, is the starter in Seattle.
Few expected Hasselbeck to do much when he was thrust into the lineup in 2003. He had been signed abruptly at midseason when Spurrier got frustrated and cut Rob Johnson. In addition, much of Hasselbeck’s NFL training had come in the West Coast offense of Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid.
But Hasselbeck played confidently in relief of Ramsey at Miami, better than expected in his first NFL start against New Orleans and well enough to beat the New York Giants in his second start. Although he later had a 0.0 rating in a brutal 27-0 loss to Dallas, he finished his stint with a 53.7 completion percentage and a 63.6 rating.
Redskins coach Joe Gibbs seems to like Hasselbeck as a developmental passer, but Ramsey and Brunell remain firmly entrenched as Nos. 1 and 2.
Note — Free agent defensive end Courtney Brown is scheduled to visit the Jacksonville Jaguars today as he continues to evaluate his options. Brown visited Washington and the Denver Broncos last week and is said to be very interested in both clubs. The Redskins weren’t discouraged by Brown’s medical evaluation and remain hopeful of a contract agreement.