Denver showed the importance of having a good backup

Backup quarterback Brock Osweiler led the Broncos to a 5-2 record while Peyton Manning was out last season. Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts' backup quarterback position remains in limbo. Veteran Matt Hasselbeck is leaning toward returning for his 18th season, but he'll be a free agent and there's no guarantee that the Colts plan to re-sign him.

The backup quarterback position is a topic of discussion for the Colts because they found out last season how important it is to have a valuable backup behind starter Andrew Luck.

Luck missed nine games with rib, shoulder, kidney and abdominal injuries. The Colts used Hasselbeck, Charlie Whitehurst, Josh Freeman and Ryan Lindley to go 6-3 without Luck with Hasselbeck going 5-3.

The biggest issue with Hasselbeck is that he's 40 years old and you have to wonder how much longer he can still be effective. His body took a pounding late in the season. He missed the final game with a shoulder injury suffered in Week 16. Freeman, a former first-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is currently still under contract.

The goal for the Colts is for Luck to take every important snap, but last season proved that not even Luck can avoid injury.

The Denver Broncos learned firsthand what it's like to have to play their backup quarterback last season. Brock Osweiler started six games in place of the injured Peyton Manning. Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said they wouldn't have been in the position to win the Super Bowl without Osweiler.

"I think there's a good chance you're going to play with your No. 2 (quarterback) at some point in the NFL season, it's just the way it works," Kubiak said. "When you do that, you still have to find a way to win and be successful. If we hadn't done that when Brock was in there in those seven weeks, we wouldn't have been in the position that we were in as a football team. It paid off for us."