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Josh Freeman Drawing Massive Interest, Led by Raiders, from Around the NFL

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 22:  Josh Freeman #5 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers directs his players during the second half of their 23-3 loss to the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on September 22, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
Winslow Townson/Getty Images
Mike FreemanNFL National Lead WriterOctober 6, 2013

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may not have wanted quarterback Josh Freeman, but it's turning out that a number of other teams like him just fine.

In interviews with team executives, scouts and other sources, a picture is emerging: About eight teams have contacted the Freeman camp, and the Oakland Raiders are emerging as the front-runners to sign him.

Now, we have to be careful with all of this. Teams are notoriously dishonest when it comes to free-agent signings (shocker), but I'm certain the interest is real. I'm equally certain the Raiders are the team that wants him the most.

That doesn't mean the signing will happen. It just means they have a strong interest.

I'm also told a surprise team to enter the fray is San Francisco. The 49ers have contacted Freeman's representatives, a source close to the situation said. Coach Jim Harbaugh has long believed that Freeman is a good NFL quarterback. He'd go to the 49ers as a backup.

The teams that have the strongest interest, I'm told, are the Raiders, Bills and 49ers. The Packers' interest is mild, but it's definitely there.

Jay Glazer of Fox reports the Vikings are serious contenders as well.

Freeman was released by the Buccaneers this past week amid controversy over the origins and details of news reports that disparaged him. But the view of Freeman throughout the league is a positive one. While teams acknowledge that he made mistakes in Tampa, the prevailing view is that Freeman is a good person, from a good family, and when he goes to a different landing spot, he could be highly productive.

In three games this season, he has a quarterback rating of 59.3, completing 45.7 percent of his passes.

It's unlikely Freeman makes a decision by Sunday. This could extend into early next week.

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