Let’s see if we understand this one.
Mark Sanchez, the fifth overall pick in the 2009 draft, already has received a second contract. Josh Freeman, taken in the teens that year, hasn’t.
And Freeman, at least for the coming season, won’t.
According to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, the Bucs won’t be extending Freeman’s contract, which expires after the 2013 season. And as Stroud explains it, the decision not to sign Freeman to a new deal could be part of a plan by coach Greg Schiano, who inherited Freeman, to get his own quarterback. And Freeman may change Schiano’s mind only by playing so well this season that Freeman leaves the Bucs with no other option than to use the franchise tag or sign him to a long-term deal.
One possibility would be to apply the non-exclusive tag and to see if anyone is willing to sign Freeman to an offer sheet and give up a pair of first-round picks. That would enable the Bucs to pull a reverse Keyshawn, giving up a player and getting two first-round picks 14 years after they gave up two first-round picks to get Keyshawn Johnson from the Jets.
The Bucs likely would settle for less, since the alternative will be to let Freeman walk away.