While I can't say with absolute certainty what it might mean, my answer at this point is it means nothing.
But, it has to mean something or they would not have signed a veteran quarterback to come in, and Zach is 0-10 as a starter and didn't play well in the last game against Indy, and he was benched in favor of Alex Tanney. So it has to mean something, right?
What it means is that Jon Robinson and Mike Mularkey wanted a veteran quarterback in the room with a group of young quarterbacks.
Marcus Mariota is heading into year number two in the NFL while Mettenberger is entering his third, but has not played enough games to have more than a rookies experience. Tanney as less than that, and while he played decently in his lone action last season, he is not a true insurance policy for the Titans. Cassel could be that insurance.
That's no knock on Mettenberger in my opinion. It's simply the Titans covering all their bases as they prepare for a make-or-break season for Mularkey.
Yes it is year one of Mularkey as the head coach, and while it might not be a must win for Titans ownership, it is in the eyes of the fans. Most fans disliked the hiring of Mularkey in the first place and he and the Titans must win to ease the dislike of the hiring.
I'm not saying the Titans must win a Super Bowl this season- yes it would be nice- but they must show a marked improvement and to do that it means winning more than 5 games, which is the total number of wins the team has in the last two seasons combined.
No, winning just six games would not be good, but considering what we have witnessed the last two seasons that would be a marked improvement for most, especially if the team could be competitive in the other ten games. Of course, winning more games would also be good too.
So what about Mettenberger?
He's going to have to compete if he wants to be the backup to Marcus Mariota, and if he can't win out then I fully expect Cassel to be the backup.
Cassel's first job is to be a leader and a veteran presence in the quarterback room for the three others. It's his job to help the coaches bring the others along and of course to play his best when the time comes.
The Titans have been a team that has had a quarterback shuffle the last two seasons as injuries-partly because the team's offensive line as been miserable and unable to properly protect the quarterbacks- and Cassel adds another level of protection against the possibility that could occur again.
So what of a possible Mettenberger trade for more picks in next month's draft?
Yes it is a possibility that the Titans could move Mettenberger, if the team is offered the right price in return, but Mettenberger's stock is not nearly as high now as it was at the same time one year ago. Some quarterback needy team might decide to take a chance, though that won't likely happen until after the draft when teams have had the chance to select a rookie quarterback. If someone misses in that process, then Mettenberger might become an option.
At the same time, Cassel might also be an option that the Titans could look to move for a player or a future draft pick.
It's nice to have options and the addition of Cassel, while not a great starting quarterback at this point in his career, he is still a valuable commodity for the Titans.