In the end, Josh Freeman got what he wanted — and the Buccaneers got what they needed.
The Bucs have released Freeman, who was benched eight days ago in favor of rookie Mike Glennon. Since then, news of disagreements and dysfunction emerged on a daily basis (or more frequently), with both sides seemingly agitating the other side toward an inevitable eruption.
After cold-calling every other 31 teams about a possible trade (which put the Buccaneers at a distinct position of weakness), the Bucs decided to cut the cord and move on.
It was a smart move. Even if someone was interested in trading for Freeman, it has become clear that he’s only going where he wants to go. It’s unclear where he now wants to go, and it’s unclear if any team he wants also wants him.
The distractions created in Tampa necessarily will follow him, making it something less than a clean start. Under the circumstances, it will be impossible for him to serve as the backup to a starter who currently is on shaky ground. Instead, he’ll have to join a team where he’d clearly be the backup to a franchise quarterback (e.g., the Packers) or a team where Freeman would instantly become the starter.
Whether another team will want him will depend in part on that team’s assessment of Freeman as a member of the 2009 draft pool, following his time at Kansas State. Also, any team that has faced Freeman will know the challenges he presents (or doesn’t) from a game-planning standpoint. The manner in which it all fell apart in Tampa also will be useful information before making a decision.
It’s a lot to process during a football season, especially since inserting a new quarterback into a new offense isn’t the easiest thing to do in October.
In the end, Freeman may end up waiting for the same thing the Bucs preferred to wait for prior to the trade deadline: A serious injury to a starter on a contending team. Absent that kind of circumstance, it may be difficult for anyone to justify potentially disrupting their current season by kicking tires on a guy who at least has some responsibility for the mess he leaves behind in Tampa.