Finally, the inevitable has happened. After three lackluster games and his subsequent benching, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman has gone from requesting a trade to requesting his outright release. Such a move would allow Freeman to recoup the full amount of the salary due to him, while he is free to shop himself to any and all teams in need of a quarterback.
Typically, when a player demands a trade or his outright release, it is hard to be on the player’s side. Teams are trying to do what is best for the organization as a whole, and if a player is seemingly unable to hold up their end of the bargain and give their squad a better chance to be victorious, they will be passed over. That is just the way sports work.
Yet, Freeman may not be the typical player in this situation. He has already seen the Bucs engage in a failed pursuit of Carson Palmer before drafting Mike Glennon in the third round of the NFL Rookie Draft this past year. Freeman lost his captaincy after a vote that members of the Bucs questioned the legitimacy of. When approached about a possible contract extension, the Bucs front office was decidedly lukewarm about the idea, and head coach Greg Schiano offered only the slightest resemblance of support for Freeman during the offseason. In fact, despite Freeman’s struggles during the first three weeks of the season, it may be fair to wonder if Schiano had been looking to set Freeman up to fail.
Then came what seemed to be the final straw, when word of the Freeman’s presence in Stage One of the NFL’s Substance Abuse program became known. The NFLPA is investigating the Bucs to see if the leaks came from there, and Freeman has had to defend himself due to a legal prescription for Adderall that was filed with the NFL. Put yourself in Freeman’s shoes, and imagine your employer undermining and possibly slandering you at every turn. How would you react?
At only 25, Freeman is still younger than quarterbacks such as Sam Bradford, Colin Kaepernick and Andy Dalton. Yet, while those three quarterbacks are considered possible building blocks for their respective franchises, Freeman finds himself being cast aside by a regime that never really seemed to want him there in the first place. No wonder he would want out.
Josh Freeman certainly deserves a fresh start, it's just unfortunate that the Bucs chose to take him down this path first.