Sep 8, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman (5) reacts after completing a pass against the New York Jets during the fourth quarter of a game at MetLife Stadium. The Jets won 18-17. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
At approximately 3:00 EST, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers officially released struggling quarterback, Josh Freeman. Personally, I believe this is a blessing for the young quarterback because Greg Schiano is an abrasive and sleezy coach.
The coach has even been accused of playing favorites with his old college players, spying on the locker room, and rigging the captain vote to demote Freeman. Schiano has even been rumored to have leaked that Freeman was under investigation by the NFL for the wrong type of ADHD medication. But, I digress. For now, Freeman joins Aqib Talib, LeGarrette Blount, and Kellen Winslow Jr. on the list of talented players unceremoniously ushered out by the controlling Schiano.
Since Josh Freeman has completed 4+ years of service, he is not eligible for the waiver wire. By releasing Freeman before the trade deadline, the Bucs allow Josh Freeman the right to claim the rest of his $6.2 salary, (as if his impending decision wasn’t obvious…). Josh Freeman is now officially a free agent and the rest of 31 teams in the NFL will have an equal shot to sign the quarterback.
Freeman has shown the ability to be an above-average quarterback in the NFL. At only 25, his career is still far from over. Heck, Philip Rivers is 31 and is perhaps having the best season of his career after 2 entire years of mediocrity (to put it lightly). The difference: the Buccaneers are absolutely loaded on the offensive side of the football: Doug Martin, Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams, and a talented offensive line to boot.
But, surrounding talent was not the problem for Freeman. The problem was that he had a head coach that failed to recognize that his potential needed to be nurtured and coached up, not broken down. Instead of building on his 25 TD-6 INT second season in the NFL, Freeman was dealing with immense pressure from all angles: the NFL, the coaching staff, and the fans.
Freeman is a talented guy, but like so many others, needs the right system to thrive. Not the right system on the field, although that is obviously important, but, the right system of management starting from the front office down to the trainers. I’m surprised anyone can thrive in that cut-throat locker room with led by a cut-throat coach.
Here is a picture of Schiano probably just waiting for Freeman to mess up so he can hear the sound of his own voice screaming:
Jul 26, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA;Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman (5) calls a play as center Jeremy Zuttah (76) gets ready to hike the ball as head coach Greg Schiano watches during training camp at One Buccaneer Place. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
I doubt Freeman will start again this year, and I don’t think he should. He needs time to get his mind right; realize that football is a game, not a backstabbing ploy for locker room dominance. The quarterback position in the NFL is quickly transforming and luckily for Freeman, he fits the bill. “A large, fast quarterback with a strong arm and proven ability to succeed in the NFL?,” say the other 31 teams, “sign us up!” Of course not all 31 teams will want to take chance on him, but, most of Freeman’s weaknesses are technical issues and could be fixed with the proper coaching staff with the ability and desire to do so.
The future looks bright for Josh Freeman. No matter where he lands, the grass will be definitely greener.