Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano has decided that he doesn’t want Josh Freeman to be the team’s quarterback. That’s Schiano’s prerogative.
But now he needs to finish the job. Whether it’s by trade or release, the Bucs need to move on from Freeman.
They need to do it not just because it’s the right thing to do. They need to do it because keeping Freeman around will serve only to aggravate Schiano, to distract new starter Mike Glennon, and possibly to disrupt the locker room. And if Glennon gets injured and the Bucs turn back to Freeman and he plays well, Schiano could be stuck with Freeman for the rest of the year.
If Freeman finishes strong, next season’s starting quarterback (presumably Glennon) will face comparisons and criticisms if he doesn’t play like Freeman did when he got his second chance in 2013.
Schiano’s attitude toward Freeman becomes even more obvious if Freeman ends up inactive on Sunday. The Bucs likely will try to get through the next four weeks and two days without playing Freeman, in the hopes that someone swings a deal for him.
Still, with $6.44 million in base salary remaining beyond today, a trade remains unlikely. Barring an injury to a starter on a contending team or a willingness by the Bucs to eat some of the money due to Freeman, a trade seems inconceivable.
The Bucs should be willing to eat some of Freeman’s salary to get rid of him because, eventually, they’ll be eating all of it to keep him, or to get rid of him. As a vested veteran, the full amount of his base salary is guaranteed. If the Bucs cut him, he gets it all.
So they can pay some or most of it to trade him, they can pay all of it to keep him around, they can pay all of it to cut him, or they can hope that someone’s ACL goes snap, crackle, and/or pop over the next five Sundays.
Either way, the Bucs need to move on from Freeman. The sooner they do, the better off everyone will be.