Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano has endured a public dispute with quarterback Josh Freeman, who was released by the team on Thursday, as ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported:
Filed to ESPN: Bucs have released QB Josh Freeman. Bucs tried to trade him but couldn't.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 3, 2013
The team later confirmed the news, and general manager Mark Dominik issued a statement:
We made the decision today to release Josh Freeman. We appreciate his efforts over the past five seasons, but we felt this was in the best interests of both Josh and the Buccaneers.
Schiano has a record of 0-4 entering the Bucs' Week 5 bye, and whether or not Freeman's release will have an impact on his hot-seat status remains to be seen. If you believe this report from the NFL Media PR account, he is certainly on thin ice:
On NFLN, @MikeSilver reports a Bucs' player said Schiano is 'absolutely' in danger of losing the team if they don't start winning 'ASAP'— NFL Media PR (@InsideNFLMedia) October 3, 2013
It seems as though Schiano had been set on inserting rookie third-round pick Mike Glennon as the future franchise quarterback all along. Freeman was deactivated from Week 4's loss to the Arizona Cardinals, and the ongoing controversy between Freeman and Schiano finally culminated in Freeman's release.
What might hurt Schiano the most in this messy situation is that the Bucs couldn't find a willing trade partner to get their desired value in exchange for Freeman. That was even after the signal-caller requested to be moved, per FOXSports.com's Ross Jones.
Furthermore, the Bucs contacted every single team trying to shop Freeman in a trade, but to no avail. A lack of interest on the trade market then ultimately led to his release, per Fox Sports' Jay Glazer:
Team actually had contact with every team about trading him and couldn't find any takers so they finally released him— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) October 3, 2013
Considering that Freeman is only 25 years old, has prototypical size and arm talent for an NFL QB, possesses mobility and has had tangible NFL success in the past, that could be viewed as a severe negative.
What should the Bucs do with Greg Schiano?
What will also loom large in determining Schiano's fate is how Glennon fares under center for the remainder of 2013.
The organization felt confident enough to invest an earlier draft pick in Glennon, just in case things with the 2009 first-rounder Freeman didn't work out. After a public feud driven by the media between Schiano and Freeman unraveled in the first quarter of the season, it was clear the relationship could not be rekindled.
If Schiano is somehow responsible for Freeman's drug program information getting out, he will almost certainly get the pink slip down the road.
Outside of that, though, it will likely take a continued dip in on-field performance from the Bucs and a true lack of promise shown from Glennon for Schiano to be fired before the season is over.