On Thursday, quarterback Josh Freeman became a free agent, able to join any other team. So where will he go?
Let’s take a broad look at every team that possibly would be remotely, potentially interested in Freeman. In no particular order.
New England Patriots: We mention them only because the Patriots seem to always be interested in buying low, if they can. In New England, Freeman would be the backup to a franchise quarterback, realizing that he wouldn’t play and quickly becoming a non-distraction. He’d be a great insurance policy against an injury.
New York Jets: Coach Rex Ryan told Peter King in 2011 that the Jets really liked Freeman and Mark Sanchez in the 2009 draft. They ultimately chose Sanchez because so many teammates showed up to catch passes at his Pro Day workout. Only two came to Freeman’s. And so “the immense respect [the Jets] sensed from the people who played with Mark and knew him so well” was a difference. But with the Jets unexpectedly competitive and quarterback Geno Smith coughing up turnovers and Matt Simms the best alternative on the roster, maybe Rex pushes for Freeman.
Cleveland Browns: They had zero interest in a trade, but that was before Brian Hoyer went down. If Hoyer ends up being out for an extended stretch, the Browns could be tempted to give Freeman a whirl.
Cincinnati Bengals: It’s early to extend a vote of no confidence in Andy Dalton, but if the team continues to struggle a spark may be needed. Freeman should be interested in the Bengals, but the Bengals may not be interested in him.
Tennessee Titans: Ryan Fitzpatrick was available in the offseason for a reason. With Jake Locker gone for at least a month, Freeman at least has to be a consideration — especially if Fitzpatrick struggles against the Chiefs on Sunday.
Houston Texans: Should they be interested? Yes. Will they be? Nope. The Texans had no interest in Peyton Manning last year, even though he was interested in them. Let that one digest for a bit, Houstonians. Your team didn’t want Peyton Manning. It’s doubtful they’ll want Freeman.
Jacksonville Jaguars: They have no interest in Freeman, even though he’s better than anyone they have at the position.
Oakland Raiders: They seem to really like Terrelle Pryor, but they have to be intrigued by the possible upgrade that Freeman could provide — for a lot less than what they gave up two years ago to get Carson Palmer.
Philadelphia Eagles: He’d be a fascinating option for the Eagles if Mike Vick gets injured. But Freeman doesn’t know Chip Kelly’s offense, which leaves Freeman out.
Minnesota Vikings: This is the team, as we hear it, Freeman most wants to play for. But coach Leslie Frazier and G.M. Rick Spielman seem to be committed to who they have, whether it’s Christian Ponder or Matt Cassel. Unless and until Spielman says the Vikings have “no intent” to sign Freeman, consider him a non-option.
Green Bay Packers: Assistant coach Alex Van Pelt has raved about Freeman, and he’d be an instant upgrade at No. 2 for the Packers. But Freeman presumably prefers to play, not sit.
San Francisco 49ers: As in Green Bay, Freeman would be a great insurance policy in San Francisco. Coach Jim Harbaugh could get as much out of Freeman as anyone.
Kansas City Chiefs: Along those same lines, Andy Reid could do the same. The Chiefs have a lot invested in Alex Smith and Chase Daniel. But if Smith were to get injured, Reid likely would pick up the phone and call.
Other teams could be interested based on injuries or other developments. Which is our way of saying “if he signs with someone other than one of the teams listed above, that’s why.”
Until then, we all play the waiting game.