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Tampa Bay Bucs: Why the Bucs Should Give Freeman a New Contract

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 30:  Josh Freeman #5 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers points out the Atlanta Falcons defense at Georgia Dome on December 30, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Jason HenryCorrespondent IJanuary 15, 2013

Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman became the organization's all-time leader in touchdowns with 78 this past season. Freeman tossed a career-high 27 TDs in 2012, also a team record.

So it may be a little baffling to some to suggest that the Bucs are balking on giving the young quarterback an extension.

On Monday, Bucs general manager Mark Dominik said that the team is no rush to give Freeman a new deal.

“Josh is going to try to play the best he can, and we'll watch the situation unfold and how the offseason goes. But Josh has done a good job.”

Not exactly a ringing endorsement for the man who holds the franchise record for passing touchdowns.

But in addition to the team’s tepid response to Freeman’s status, Dominik stated that he’s not the only party involved who wants to take it slow with Freeman. Apparently, so does Freeman.

“There's no hurry from Josh Freeman and his representation (either). So there's good communication going on. We do have time on our hands.”

Since Freeman’s arrival in Tampa, he has a record of 24 wins and 32 losses. The Bucs made progress in his second year at the helm, when they won 10 games and barely missed the playoffs.

The team, along with Freeman, regressed in 2011 and fired their coach because of it. While many believe that Freeman is too inconsistent for his own good, or the team’s good for that matter, he’s the best quarterback the team has seen since Brad Johnson.

He has size, standing tall at 6’6” and weighing 240 pounds, and he can actually throw a darn good forward pass.

What is the holdup?

My question regarding Freeman’s worth to the Bucs organization is simple: What is the alternative?

Standing behind Freeman is Dan Orlovsky, an NFL journeyman with connections to the Lions and Colts.

If you’re still unsure of Orlovsky is, check out this gem of a video.

My point in all of this is to state that while Tampa Bay has been up and down since Freeman took over as starter early in 2009, the Bucs don’t have a situation where there is a viable backup to take over if Freeman starts to stink up the joint.

The team's instability is also not to be blamed all on Freeman. The Bucs haven't made the playoffs since 2007 and have just seven 10-plus-win seasons in their history.

Sure, they could try to trade for Redskins quarterback Kurt Cousins or Seahawks reserve Matt Flynn, but that buys more uncertainty for an organization looking to gain footing in the tough NFC South.

In the end, Dominik insinuated that if Freeman has a good 2013, he would be rewarded with a new deal. If not, Freeman will probably have to find new employment.

If he is released and Tampa has to find a new quarterback, are they truly a better team without him?

 

 

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