By Eric Schmidt

Despite setting career marks in passing yards and touchdowns, a report this morning suggests that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will not extend the contract of QB Josh Freeman. At mid-season, Freeman appeared poised to take his game to the next level, leading the Buccaneers offense that was scoring points at a franchise record race. By the end of the season, Freeman regressed, throwing four interceptions in two games while the Buccaneers lost five of their last six.

Freeman will be entering the final year of his rookie contract and needs to show more consistency on the field. First-year head coach told reporters after the regular season that he plans to bring in a quarterback this offseason to challenge Freeman moving forward. The Tampa back-up in 2012 was Dan Orlovsky, but Orlovsky only attempted seven passes last season and is not considered as a threat to challenge Freeman for the starting job.

After a turonver plagued rookie season (18 interceptions and 6 fumbles), Freeman responded with an impressive 25 touchdown, 6 interception 2010 campaign. His play regressed once again in 2011 throwing 22 picks and fumbling six times. He added another 25 turnovers in 2012.

The choice by the Buccaneers not to extend Freeman’s contract might be the ultimate motivator that he needs in order to improve his game. The New York Jets made a horrible mistake of extending the contract of Mark Sanchez and are now saddled with a huge contract with a quarterback that appears to be regressing.

If Freeman’s play on the field improves, then the Buccaneers can offer him a new contract, and ultimately could use the franchise tag on him for the 2014 season if the two sides cannot agree on a new deal.

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