With most of the national media providing hourly updates on Mark Sanchez, an interesting story is unfolding with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason LaCanfora is reporting this morning that quarterback Josh Freeman will request a new deal or a trade from the Buccaneers organization ahead of the trading deadline.
Freeman, 25, is still young and could eventually become a quality starter in the NFL but he has been wildly inconsistent in his young career. He stares down receivers, holds the ball too long in the pocket and seems to not have the emotional maturity to play the position at this point in his career. Last week against the Jets, Freeman and offensive lineman Donald Penn were spotted while involved in a heated argument.
Issues boiled over last week at One Buc Place with news that head coach Greg Schiano might have rigged a vote for team captain. Freeman was reportedly late for a team meeting and skipped the team photo. Despite what Schiano is telling the media, things are not well between the duo.
The rift started in the off-season when the team declined to offer Freeman a contract extension while he plays in the final year of his rookie contract. Tampa then drafted Mike Glennon with their third-round selection. Glennon had been recruited out of high school by Schiano when he was the head coach at Rutgers.
Whether or not the Buccaneers even attempt to trade Freeman might hinge on where they stand record-wise at the trade deadline. While Freeman is just 25, what would he bring in the trade market, especially with teams knowing he would become a free agent at the end of the season. Why give up a high draft selection when he can be had once free agency opens?
2014 is expected to be a strong draft class for quarterbacks, so teams needing a quarterback might choose to draft one rather than trading for Freeman given the recent success of young quarterbacks in the league. There is plenty of tape on Freeman so perhaps a coach on another team might think he could be fixed, but he will come with a significant contract after this season given his experience in the league.
Freeman was not the choice of this current coaching staff. He was drafted by Raheem Morris and his staff.
LaCanfora cites sources as saying Schiano is difficult to work for. He calls him, “inflexible and rigid.” LaCanfora suggests his coaching traits are similar to Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. Ironically, Belichick made a call to the Buccaneers on Schianio’s behalf when the team was interviewing coaching candidates.
This entire rift could be traced back to comments made by Schiano in the offseason. He told reporters that Glennon could start this season. You would never hear Bill Belichick airing dirty laundry to the media in that manner.
Josh Freeman might want a trade, but I doubt he receives one. He’ll get his chance at a new team next year at the start of free agency.