Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

03 Oct 2013

Bucs Release Josh Freeman

No word on if he was fined on his way out the door yet.

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 03 Oct 2013

82 comments, Last at 06 Oct 2013, 3:54am by tuluse


by tuluse :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 2:24pm

Yikes, he had literally no trade value? Is that even possible?

I count 4 teams (Min, JAX, CLE, NYJ) that should be bringing him in to start or compete to start, and there must be about 15 that would want him as a backup.

by gambra (not verified) :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 2:43pm

A few of those teams are tanking the season already and others are content with not bringing in a new QB to the system this much into the season. There's also something like $8m left hanging on his contract which teams probably didn't want to touch. Now he's been released and no guaranteed money needed to be paid there's bound to be some team that will claim him off waivers tomorrow.

by Andrew Potter :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 2:55pm

He's a vested veteran, so doesn't go through waivers. He's a free agent the instant the paperwork's processed.

by jds :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 3:36pm

I think its pretty clear that Min, JAX and CLE are looking to the draft next year for their QB. Bringing Freeman in would just mess that up, although, if you could get him in on a veteran minimum you might let him hang around for the rest of the year to see what he looks like.

by Raiderjoe :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 5:26pm

NYj- have yiunster in geno Smith.
Cle- hoyer us useful enough to get through eeason
Jax- wants gabbert and hebbe to suck season away and gett first puck to drfat t. Brudgewater
MInn- clueless

So freeman not going to any of those 4 teams

by The Ninjalectual :: Fri, 10/04/2013 - 2:41am

Funniest thing I've read all day, and I've read a lot of funny things today. Also right on.

The other teams who most need somebody like Freeman are (in order): Tampa Bay, Tennessee, and maybe Oakland, and like RJ mentioned, all of those teams have one reason or another to stay away from Freeman. Although "we're worried he might be better than our current guy" is a pretty crappy reason, and anyone with that kind of deep seated insecurity probably shouldn't be an NFL coach.

by LionInAZ :: Fri, 10/04/2013 - 7:52pm

Hoyer's out for the season now (ACL), so Cleveland may be back on the map.

by Hurt Bones :: Fri, 10/04/2013 - 9:22pm

I can't believe I'm going to type this. Here goes. Apparently the Browns like Tyler Thigpen.

by tuluse :: Sat, 10/05/2013 - 2:58am

I think that's code for "the Browns still have a QB on the roster not named Brandon Wheedon."

by Ryan D. :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 2:23pm

It's amazing that they must not have been able to get even a conditional 7th round pick for him.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 2:41pm

It's not amazing when everyone knows you're stupid enough to cut him in return for nothing.

by RickD :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 9:13pm


He's worth picking up for free, but it'd be hard for the Bucs to trade him while simultaneously leaking that he's involved in the drug program.

by Guido Merkens :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 4:07pm

I think the bigger issue is that nobody wanted to pay the guy $6.5 million for the rest of the season just to take a flyer on him. I'm sure someone will be glad to sign him to a minimum deal though.

by Phyrre56 :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 2:30pm

The Bucs killed his value by making it so clear to the public that they had zero interest in Freeman's services. If the team doesn't value the player, no one else will. Why trade a pick when you can just negotiate with him as a free agent? Not surprised they couldn't make a deal, that's on the Bucs management. Schiano's days are numbered.

by Pravin LOL (not verified) :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 2:36pm

Fair enough, but there's not much they can do to pump up his value once they've already benched him for a rookie. And they did that (presumably) for football reasons. What are they supposed to do, play him until they can trade him - even if they feel someone else gives them a better chance to win? What's the relative value of a win this year and a low draft pick? Maybe you say wins this year are worth zero (or even negative) since the Bucs are going nowhere. But it's early in the year. Evaluating your roster is important. And would you say that if you were a Bucs fan?

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 3:15pm

There's a large gray area between "continuing to play him" and "openly feuding with him in the press". The Bucs could have shot for somewhere in that zone.

by countertorque :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 2:36pm

Exactly. You don't sell a car by telling everyone how horrible it is and then leak a carfax report showing it's been through a fire.

by wr (not verified) :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 3:09pm

Yup. If they had just quietly shopped Freeman and kept their mouths shut,
someone might have bitten in the belief he only needed a change of scenery. But
after the smear job, everyone knew he'd be released eventually.

by sundown (not verified) :: Fri, 10/04/2013 - 11:06am

The time to have shopped him was when he was the starter. No way were they going to keep him as a backup making that salary, so once he got demoted anybody interested would just wait for the inevitable release.

And the story about them cold-calling every team about a trade was pretty funny. Sure, there'd be a few teams you'd contact knowing their needs were pretty severe. But calling everybody smacks of desperation, as everybody would have known he was on the market 5 minutes after the first call was made.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Fri, 10/04/2013 - 11:32am

Exactly. Either the cold-calling story was overblown, or it's a bad sign for Bucs fans that the front office is really that clueless.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 2:39pm

You knew it was coming, but it still makes me feel sick. I thought this kid was going to be the future of the franchise. The team spends huge amounts of money bringing in Carl Nicks, Vincent Jackson, and Dashon Goldson, and then trades a first-rounder for Darrelle Revis. That's absolute, utter "WIN NOW" mode. How do they do that? Some petty, childish conflict between a coach and a QB, and now some rookie is thrown in who doesn't have the experience to WIN NOW in the CFL.


by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 3:29pm

Hey, he took the NC State starting QB job from Russell Wilson. Logically, that means he's better than Russell Wilson, right? The logic is unassailable.

I think he'll be good. His game reminds me a little bit of Cody Zeller.

by The Ninjalectual :: Fri, 10/04/2013 - 2:46am

I thought this was a joke, "Cody Zeller" being some no-name QB nobody's ever heard of. Then I looked up who Cody Zeller is.

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Fri, 10/04/2013 - 9:22am

It was still a joke, just not the joke you expected.

by speedegg :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 6:55pm

I don't think it's a petty conflict between coach and player. I think it's the coach just realize how hard it is in the NFL and wants/needs to blame someone.

How much is that coaching staff in over their head? Would it make you feel any better if you know the Buccs offensive formations made the defense stacked 11 in the box?

by Jake (not verified) :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 2:40pm

They probably couldn't get anyone to take his contract. You can't pick up part of the salary like in MLB trades, so you have to restructure the contract into a bonus that gets paid immediately. It's hard to negotiate a restructure when you're actively burning the bridge with the guy.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 3:24pm

To be fair, he wasn't paying well at all, but who knows if he would have had a chance to play well without Schiano's asshattery. And to get absolutely nothing in return for him (when he would have fetched a handsome price prior to the Bucs' propoganda campaign), is astonishing.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 3:34pm

Look at all the money Matt Flynn got after what, two good games? Freeman was utterly spectacular in 2010, and, for part of last year, had a simply great run. You can't tell me that there isn't a coach or GM out there who a few weeks ago was saying "Hey, I'm a genius, I'm a QB guru, I bet I can fix that kid and he'll be a star". Regardless of Freeman's issues, up until a week and a half ago, he had serious potential and value. Instead, the Bucs as clumsily as imaginable stumbled publicly through this ridiculous display of incompetence, and reduced his value to somewhere between "moldy cheese sandwich" and "JaMarcus Russell".

Lots of Bucs fans slam the Glazers, but I've always liked them as owners; they spent money hand over fist the last few years to get this team some really excellent free agents. That being said, I'd like to believe they're smart enough to realize the brain-damaged chimps they have running the team right now should probably find a new job. Hopefully on another continent.

by Theo :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 4:16pm

Another continent? I can only think of one other continent that could use their skills, but those penguins can already huddle with the best of them.

by Noah Arkadia :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 5:29pm

Madagascar is not a continent.

The man with no sig

by The Ninjalectual :: Fri, 10/04/2013 - 2:48am

It's like a continent.

by Ryan D. :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 4:15pm

reduced his value to somewhere between "moldy cheese sandwich" and "JaMarcus Russell".

Is it bad that I don't know which option you are implying to be the lower bound in this scenario?

by DavidL :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 4:32pm

That depends on how much you trust JaMarcus Russell's sandwich-making abilities.

by Tommo (not verified) :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 5:14pm

PB&J Drank?

by BigWoody (not verified) :: Fri, 10/04/2013 - 12:08am

God, I love this site. That goes for 22 and 24 as well.

by Sidewards :: Fri, 10/04/2013 - 2:53am

In this metaphor, Zoidberg represents Schiano? I was stuck on the moldy sandwich thing.

by RedDawg (not verified) :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 4:11pm

Another option could be a team that has a tradeable backup, signs Freeman and then trades the backup.

But I doubt Freeman would sign as a backup.

by RickD :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 9:22pm

Well he's not going to be signed as a starter, so if he wants to work in the NFL again, he's going to need to sign as a backup.

I'm sure if he doesn't understand that, his agent will explain it to him.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 10/04/2013 - 6:51am

He might be signed to compete for a starting job. In Cleveland, say.

by sundown (not verified) :: Fri, 10/04/2013 - 11:12am

He'll find work someplace, as a backup if nothing else. His pro prospects are actually looking a lot brighter than Schiano's.

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Fri, 10/04/2013 - 11:35am

That's good point, in the same vein as the "Anquan Boldin gets the last laugh" article from Week 1. Between Freeman and Schiano which one will last longer in the NFL? My money is also on Freeman.

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Fri, 10/04/2013 - 4:56pm

Cleveland supposedly meeting with Tyler Thigpen. Looks like Freeman's out of the running there.

by Cythammer (not verified) :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 4:19pm

I almost wish the Jets would pick him up. With competent quarterbacking they would have a good shot at the playoffs. Even in the long-term I doubt Geno Smith is the answer, and right now he's probably worse than Sanchez.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 5:12pm

Geno Smith has reminded me of Freeman, actually; both are tall, big arms, both have an unpleasant tendency to panic with pressure and loft back-foot throws over the middle. I think they already have their Freeman.

by Raiderjoe :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 5:34pm

See all Jets games in addition yi all Raiders ones. G Smuth better than m. Sanchez. If Sanchez QB first 4 games 2013 jets would be 0-4 or 1-3. Smith make game winning passes vs tab and buff. Sure, didn't play well vs Oil-Tit but guy is rookie. Sanchez wuuld have turnovered some games into oblivion too. Raiders will never sign Sanchez.

by Gorilla Graham (not verified) :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 5:41pm

I have nothing really to add to this, beyond agreeing that Geno seems like there may be something there as a QB, but I was so amused by 'Oil-Tit' that I felt the need just to mention that here.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 7:06pm

If the Tennessee Titans franchise ever relocates to L.A. for some reason, I would be in favor of them being renamed the "Los Angeles Oil-Tits".

by BigWoody (not verified) :: Fri, 10/04/2013 - 10:29am

Their cheerleader outfits would be, uhmm, interesting. The mascot would have to be a huge nipple spueing black goo up and down the sidelines. What a mess. And the LA Oil-Tits' helmet logo would be bizarre.

by young curmudgeon :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 9:59pm

It is taking a great deal of self-control, coupled with the fear of what virus-laden site I would be directed to, to resist googling "oil-tit."

by BigWoody (not verified) :: Fri, 10/04/2013 - 12:13am

Can I say it again? God, I love this site.

by The Ninjalectual :: Fri, 10/04/2013 - 2:52am

Raiders will never sign Sanchez.

Sorry, RJ, but I think you just guaranteed this will happen in the offseason.

by commissionerleaf :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 5:38pm

Freeman is perfectly capable of being an NFL starter; he has demonstrated proficiency. He has been hamstrung by poor line play (this year) and awful coaching (doubleplusawful coaching since Schiano took over for Morris).

He is probably capable of producing at a Joe Flacco level consistently with the right offense and the confidence of a coaching staff, and he could easily be much better than that, but we won't know until he gets a shot at a decent franchise. Jacksonville should take him if he will sign, and he would be an upgrade in a number of cities, including a few (TEN, arguably CIN and MIA) not often mentioned.

For a contract, almost no team in the league has a reason not to consider signing him if his price is reasonable, because there are only two backups in the league I can think of who are better than Freeman.

by Gorilla Graham (not verified) :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 5:43pm

I'm not sure we've seen enough of Locker or Tannehill to assume that Freeman would be an upgrade over them, as both have shown flashes of late. Dalton? Maybe.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 5:54pm

Can the Vikings send The Ponderous One to Tampa anyways?

by The Ninjalectual :: Fri, 10/04/2013 - 2:56am

See comment #25. Relevant section: Minn: clueless

by dbostedo :: Sat, 10/05/2013 - 4:49pm

Why would they do that, when they've already got Joe Webb?

by Sifter :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 6:09pm

I had heard the theory that the Bucs might keep him around for the year, and then be eligible for a compensatory pick when he signed elsewhere in free agency next year. Either that wasn't accurate, or the Bucs thought Freeman was such a cancer that it was better to get rid of him now. Surely they could have found a non-existent injury and IRed him though, which would have meant he didn't need to return to the Bucs facility ever again.

I understand why no one wanted to pay multi millions for a flier at Freeman, but the next couple of days should see a few teams bidding for his services.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 6:16pm

They'd need some way to infect him w/ staph. Everyone who actually goes to the TB medical staff seems to get it.

by RickD :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 9:24pm

Did they get their people from the Browns?

by justanothersteve :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 6:17pm

Possibly. But they would probably have to ban him from the Bucs facility a la Keyshawn Johnson. If IR'ed, he could probably demand an injury settlement and get his release anyway. I'm also not sure the players' union would allow an uninjured player to go IR.

by commissionerleaf :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 9:23pm


That's what TB already did to Lawrence Tynes after they gave him staph.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 10/04/2013 - 9:15am

Tynes has filed a grievance about that, because it costs him a year of his vesting.

by RedDawg (not verified) :: Fri, 10/04/2013 - 8:33am

Since the Bucs did sign more free agents than they lost the past seasons (and "big" free agents like Nicks and V. Jackson), they would most likely not have received compensatory picks for Freeman at all. Case closed.

by Hurt Bones :: Fri, 10/04/2013 - 12:41pm

You're confusing seasons. If the Bucs kept Freeman and he signed signed somewhere else as a free agent, he would count in the compensatory pick system for the 2015 draft. He would be offset by free agents signed by the Bucs in the upcoming off season, not players signed in this past off season. Those free agents count in the 2014 compensatory picks.

by Michael LaRocca (not verified) :: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 7:54pm

He's a free man

by The Ninjalectual :: Fri, 10/04/2013 - 2:58am

I assume you've never watched Django Unchained. I suggest you go do that. Unless you actually intended to compare the NFL draft to slavery.

by kingdingaling :: Fri, 10/04/2013 - 4:12am

But... his name... is Free-man? Though I don't mind watching Django Unchained

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Fri, 10/04/2013 - 9:23am

Greg Schiano would have made a good henchman for Leonardo Dicaprio's character, and he wouldn't have been acting.

by usernaim250 :: Fri, 10/04/2013 - 9:33am

Uhhh, hello. Slavery is a bit strong a comparison these days but it's certainly a form of bound labor similar to indentured servitude.

In what other non-sports profession can a company restrict your right to work for whomever, and under whatever terms you an your employer wish?

by apk3000 :: Fri, 10/04/2013 - 10:00am

Depends on how legally enforceable non-compete clauses are.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Fri, 10/04/2013 - 10:17am

This. My contract has a restrictive covenant specifically designed to prevent me from working for the competition should I decide to leave. I doubt it would be enforceable, but the language is still there.

by njligernj :: Fri, 10/04/2013 - 8:31am

Whichever city signs him better double its booze and pills stockpiles.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Fri, 10/04/2013 - 9:24am

I think you're misinterpreting what the NFL's Level 1 Drug Program is.

by Go pats (not verified) :: Fri, 10/04/2013 - 9:50am

Don't the Rams need a QB?

by Sisyphus :: Fri, 10/04/2013 - 10:03am

Before they can figure that out they need an offensive coordinator and then receivers who can either make catches under pressure consistently, beat press coverage, and/or get separation.

by commissionerleaf :: Sat, 10/05/2013 - 2:55am

St. Louis receivers seem to do okay when they get out of St. Louis. The problem may not be that Sam Bradford lacks weapons. The problem may be that Sam Bradford has problems firing.

by Andrew Potter :: Sat, 10/05/2013 - 10:39am

It's possible that the Rams receivers are fine outside St. Louis because they aren't asked to be #1 and #2 guys elsewhere. Taking Miami as an example, Wallace gets the attention and Hartline's the clear #2. That means Brandon Gibson is running the #3 receiver's routes against the opponent's #3 receiver defenses. In St. Louis, he was the number 1 or 2 guy depending on Amendola's health. The Rams always struck me as a team with a slew of #3 and #4 receivers but no true #1 and only one #2 (Amendola).

by greybeard :: Fri, 10/04/2013 - 11:40pm

Surprising that 49ers went after Skelton instead of waiting for Freeman. Especially considering what their defensive coordinator said about Skelton when they played against Arizona.

by funkdoc (not verified) :: Sat, 10/05/2013 - 1:13am

I always felt like the NFL lagged way behind the NBA in wacky conspiracy theories, but this whole Freeman thing's helped them close the gap a little bit anyway!

Beyond the typical drug rumors, there are a good number of Tampa fans pushing various ideas related to his sexuality (and sometimes Raheem Morris's)...

Now that Andy Reid's out of Philly I guess some other fanbase had to take up the mantle wrt this stuff!

by commissionerleaf :: Sat, 10/05/2013 - 3:07am

Playing for a massively inferior franchise, Freeman's basic and advanced numbers bear a fair resemblance to Joe Flacco's.

[This may be damning with faint praise, I know.]

However, looking at them for a bit, I'm prepared to believe that Freeman is basically the same quarterback that Joe Flacco is; anecdotal evidence of the two both going back and forth from Johnny-Unitas-with-a-Howitzer to Ryan-Leaf-Without-the-Draft-Pedigree supports the theory.

Based on 2012 DVOA charts, these are the teams for whom Freeman would be an upgrade:

Vikings (Cassel)
Titans (Locker/Hasselbeck)
Bears (Cutler)
Dolphins (Tannehill)
Jaguars (Anyone wearing the uniform)
Eagles (Vick)
Browns (Weeden)

We know of course that the following should be added:

Using Flacco as a cutoff we add:

Colts (Luck) (And no, I don't think DVOA was quite fair to Andy last year either)
Vikings again (Ponder)
Bengals (Dalton)
Chargers (Rivers) (Although this was almost transparently an off-year now)
Titans (Fitzpatrick)

by Cythammer (not verified) :: Sat, 10/05/2013 - 10:45pm

The Jets aren't on either of those lists?? That can't be right.

It seems to me that now the Browns should be looking to pick him up. Somehow they're in first in their (not very good) division, and with Freeman they would have a much better shot of staying there. He's also probably a better long term solution than Weeden.

by tuluse :: Sun, 10/06/2013 - 3:54am

Geno Smith wasn't in the league in 2012.

commissionerleaf's post is misuse of DVOA as a stat however you look at it.