Josh Freeman to Colts: Latest Contract Details, Comments and Reaction

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Josh Freeman to Colts: Latest Contract Details, Comments and Reaction
Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

Josh Freeman is back in the NFL after the Indianapolis Colts signed the 27-year-old on Dec. 29 to provide some depth at quarterback in the final week of the regular season, which was first reported by Ben Volin of the Boston Globe.

The Colts also announced Freeman was named the starter against the Tennessee Titans for the regular-season finale.

Pro Football Talk added that the transaction is also more proof another former backup QB is all but done in the league:

Freeman hasn't played a regular-season game since 2013, having spent the bulk of his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with whom he made 59 starts between 2009 and 2013.

Both the New York Giants and the Miami Dolphins took a chance on the former first-round draft pick since his departure from the Minnesota Vikings, but he failed to stick around for any meaningful games.

Freeman's downfall has been one of the more puzzling developments of the last few years.

Following an electric sophomore season, Freeman looked like one of the more promising young QBs in the league. In 2012, he threw for 4,065 yards, 27 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.

He was the third QB drafted in 2009, and through his first four years, his numbers didn't look all that dissimilar from those of Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez, the two QBs selected ahead of him:

Player Games Yards Y/G Comp. % TD INT
Freeman 57 12,963 227.4 58.8 78 63
Stafford 45 12,807 284.6 59.8 80 54
Sanchez 62 12,092 195.0 55.1 68 69

Source: Pro-Football-Reference.com

But the Buccaneers released Freeman in 2013, and he made just one start with the Vikings. Nobody claimed Freeman to be the second coming of Dan Marino, but the way in which his NFL career fell apart remains surprising.

Of course, Freeman did himself few favors, especially toward the end of his Buccaneers career and during his time in Minnesota.

In October 2013, the Tampa Tribune's Roy Cummings outlined a handful of issues between Freeman and Bucs management. It also came to light he was in the NFL's drug program, but that situation arguably reflected worse on the Buccaneers than it did Freeman.        

Freeman's professionalism was also called into question by his Vikings teammates.

"You could tell Josh did not know the offense," said an unnamed player to USA Today's Tom Pelissero in December 2013. "Practices did not really go that well that week. But coach (Leslie) Frazier was in the team meetings like, 'Oh, I think this is the best week of practice we've had all year.' And everyone's like, what? What are you talking about?"

Another player called it a "debacle."

Trying to track Freeman's career after his last release from the Dolphins isn't easy, a point to which Pelissero can attest:

Freeman could still make a comeback and become a viable No. 1 quarterback again, but those days are likely behind him. The Colts aren't signing him to be the future of the franchise unless they plan on jettisoning Andrew Luck; Freeman's arrival is more so a last resort after injuries knocked out Luck in addition to Matt Hasselbeck and Charlie Whitehurst, per NFL.com.

At the very least, this move could help Freeman carve out a consistent backup role in the NFL for the future.

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