Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman is entering the fifth year of his career after being a first round draft pick by the Buccaneers in 2009, and even though he has made a Pro Bowl, the quarterback is entering the final year of his contract.
Freeman signed this contract as a rookie, which included $26 million for five years with over $8 million coming in 2013. One would think that at some point, the Buccaneers would have extended Freeman to lock him up for years to come.
But that has not happened, and with the coaching change in Tampa a little over a year ago, it is not inconceivable to see Freeman as the odd man out.
In fact, the quarterback’s play can be considered a big reason as to why Tampa Bay fired former head coach Raheem Morris.
After posting a 95.9 passer rating with 25 touchdowns and just six interceptions, making the Pro Bowl and leading the Buccaneers to a surprising 10-6 record, but missing the playoffs, Freeman fell from grace in 2011 throwing 22 interceptions. Tampa Bay ended the season on a ten game losing streak.
Freeman started 2012 strong and broke the 4,000-yard mark for the first time in his career, but in the final three games, he threw an astonishing nine interceptions. In the prior 13 games he threw only eight. The team lost five of their last six games, finishing 7-9.
The inconsistent play at quarterback caused the Buccaneers to draft rookie quarterback Mike Glennon in the third round. With still no contract for Freeman, it is not too early to speculate that Glennon is now the future QB in Tampa.
Which is more than likely why Schiano felt like he had to come out and praise Freeman’s ability. It is still in the best interest of this team to avoid a quarterback controversy this season and sign Freeman long term. But if that fails, at least the guy in waiting is already in place.
The Buccaneers are an interesting team with young talent, but only if Freeman plays more like he did in 2010. And maybe he won’t admit it, but Schiano may live or die along with Freeman too. He is only in his second season as head coach, but who knows what Tampa Bay will do if they finish in last a third straight season.