NFL

Josh Freeman's Top Landing Destinations After Release by Tampa Bay Buccaneers

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 22:  Josh Freeman #5 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers reacts after an incomplete pass in the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Gillette Stadium on September 22, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Alex KayCorrespondent IOctober 5, 2013

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers surprisingly released quarterback Josh Freeman on Thursday, effectively cutting ties with the last remaining vestiges of their 2009 draft class.

Freeman, the No. 17 overall pick in that draft, is now on the open market and may end up getting another gig quite soon.

While he never found the success that the Tampa Bay brass envisioned when they selected him out of Kansas State, there’s no doubt that he still has the upside to be a star in this league.

Let’s take a look at a few teams that could take a chance on his talents.

 

Oakland Raiders

The Raiders can’t seem to find a signal-caller that can both contribute and stay healthy.

While Terrelle Pryor has been decent as a starter, he doesn’t seem to have the chops to be a Super Bowl-winning quarterback in the NFL. He’s a great runner, but his passing ability leaves much to be desired.

Nov 4, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman (5) is pressured by Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Tommy Kelly (93) at the O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Flynn, the high-priced career backup, hasn’t been the answer either. His mediocre losing performance against the Washington Redskins proved that in Week 4.

Outside of that pair, Oakland only has Matt McGloin—an undrafted rookie yet to take a snap in the NFL—on the roster.

It’s clear that a veteran with promise like Freeman could be a good fit for the Raiders, especially as a backup behind Pryor, who has been injury prone in his first season as a starter.

Should he be given some time to learn the system, Freeman could easily emerge as the top option under center in the Black Hole by the end of the 2013 campaign. It’s a low-risk, high-reward gamble for a team that needs to roll the dice.

 

Buffalo Bills

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 3: Quarterback EJ Manuel #3 of the Buffalo Bills is helped by trainers during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 3, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Browns defeated the Bills 37-24. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

Bills lost starting quarterback EJ Manuel for at least a few weeks on the same day that Freeman was released.

It could be fate, as Buffalo is an ideal candidate to bring in the beleaguered signal-caller and have him replace Manuel during his absence due to an LCL sprain.

After taking a monster hit from Cleveland Browns defensive back Tashaun Gipson, Manuel came up lame and had to leave the contest. As a mobile quarterback, it is going to take some time for the rookie to get back into game shape after suffering such a debilitating injury.

Considering backup Jeff Tuel—an undrafted rookie—looked absolutely dreadful when forced to replace Manuel in the third quarter, it makes sense to look elsewhere for a short-term stopgap.

Tuel connected on 8-of-20 passes for just 80 yards and an interception. Even though Freeman hasn’t been great this season (43-of-94 for 571 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions), he’s still a better option that would put the Bills in better position to win games.

With Tuel clearly not the answer as Manuel’s backup, there isn’t a better replacement option than Freeman on the free agent pile, and the Bills would be wise to ink him to a deal.

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