The Josh Freeman and Greg Schiano story ended abruptly on Thursday for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Off to a disappointing 0-4 start to the 2013 campaign, it quickly became apparent that Schiano, the Bucs head coach, and Josh Freeman, the quarterback, were not getting along. The issue was not one that simply went away, and now the conflict resulted in Schiano staying in Tampa while Freeman is looking for employment after being released from the team.
Perhaps reaching its pinnacle over the last week, the conflict reached its height following Tampa Bay’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Schiano decided to bench Freeman for that game in favor of rookie Mike Glennon. Glennon struggled in a close defeat, a game Freeman surely felt he could have won as he sat watching from the inactive list.
Freeman requested a trade, and Tampa was willing to shop him around given the escalation of the feud between he and Schiano. Making the decision to back the second year head coach over the fifth year quarterback. The odds of this season turning around for the Buccaneers look to be slim, but management made it clear they feel that sticking with the coach gives them the best shot to win in the near future.
Once considered a rising star, the release will provide Freeman with an opportunity for a fresh start, something that can be rare in today’s NFL. At just 25 years old, he certainly has time on his side as he is still yet to hit his prime.
So where exactly will Freeman land now that he is free to pursue a new team? Here are our best guesses as to who will be calling Freeman in the near future.
The Titans are a surprise 3-1 to open the NFL season, yet have lost quarterback Jake Locker for at least several weeks due to a hip injury. Jake Locker was not exactly a top tier passer to begin with, and his loss makes the immediate need for a quarterback even more apparent.
This team has the talent to contend for a divisional title in the AFC South everywhere but the quarterback position. Freeman is a gamer who at 6’6″ and 240 pounds has the raw size that team’s seek under center.
Nate Washington would benefit at the wide receiver position from Freeman’s arm strength. Vincent Jackson made a habit out of creating big plays with Freeman throwing him the ball in 2012, a role the Titan deep threat could thrive in.
If Freeman could find his groove and produce at a level near his 4,000 yard 2012, the Titans would instantly be legitimate contenders.
The Browns are one of the stranger stories in the NFL this year. Trading running back Trent Richardson after an 0-2 start was supposed to represent management throwing in the towel for the year. The players had other plans, and have gone 2-0 since with Brian Hoyer under center.
You read that correct. Brian Hoyer is 2-0 as a starter this year. Raise your hand if you had heard of him before this season. None of you? That’s what I thought.
Enter Josh Freeman. A talented young quarterback who has the abilities to make receiver Josh Gordon and tight end Jordan Cameron live up to their potential. These two guys are producing huge stat lines on a regular basis with mediocre quarterbacks getting them the ball. Just think what they would be doing with a Pro Bowl caliber passer.
Signing Freeman would also prove a lot to fans who aren’t happy about the Richardson trade. Management would tell them that they have not merely given up on the season, and believe that this team can continue to win now.
The Jaguars have been one of the NFL’s worst teams since drafting Blaine Gabbert to become their franchise quarterback. Although he has been dreadful, the team has continued to trot him out there on a regular basis and the 0-4 record shows that.
This team lacks talent across the board, signing Freeman would plug a massive void. A young quarterback who very well could be a franchise passer for the Jags, his addition would allow the team to address many of its other needs in the draft and avoid having to spend an early pick on a quarterback.
At 2-2, Arizona still has a chance to make something happen in 2013, and Carson Palmer has not been awful throwing the ball this season. That being said, Josh Freeman would fit this team’s future plans. Palmer is not the future of this team, and is simply a stop gap for the present.
Sitting behind Palmer, who has had some success at the NFL level in his career, would give Freeman a great chance to grasp the offense before being handed the reigns in 2014.
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express