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March 6, 2013 @ 9:48 am
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Freeman Entering 2013 With Future In Doubt

Written by Mark
Cook
Mark Cook

Mark
Cook

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Quarterback Josh Freeman's agent recently met with the Buccaneers and stated that Tampa Bay is committed to Freeman. But Freeman's – and general manger Mark Dominik's – future may hinge on the quarterback play in 2013.
Bucs general manager Mark Dominik has stated that Tampa Bay will take a wait-and-see approach regarding the future of quarterback Josh Freeman’s contract. If Freeman excels this season, then the former 2009 first-round pick most likely will earn a long-term, big money extension, and if Freeman plays poorly, 2013 could be his last season in Tampa Bay.

Multiple reports this week say the Bucs, and Freeman’s agent Erik Burkhardt, recently met, and according to Burkhardt, all was positive.

“We did meet and talks were very productive,” Burkhardt told Gil Arica from TheBayCave.com on Monday. “The Bucs are a huge believer in Josh and Josh is a huge believer in coach Schiano and Mark Dominik.”

Burkhardt reiterated the same thing to the Tampa Tribune’s Roy Cummings on Tuesday.

"It was really positive,''Burkhardt told The Tampa Tribune of the recent meeting he had with Bucs officials at the NFL scouting combine. "They said they definitely believe in Josh, that he is their guy, that they want to reach their goals with him and that they know he is capable of doing the job and are committed to him.''

The statement from Burkhardt paints a positive picture but sources recently told PewterReport.com that the relationship between Freeman and the organization isn’t quite as sunny as Burkhardt and some have made it out to be.

Regardless of the nature of the Bucs and Freeman’s relationship, both sides need things to work. Freeman is entering the final year of his original five-year rookie deal and needs to post big numbers and get the Buccaneers in – or at the very least close to the playoffs – to secure  a future with the organization.

Schiano, and general manager Mark Dominik need Freeman to also succeed. Dominik’s future in Tampa could depend of how the Buccaneers perform next season, and of course a big part will be based on the play of the quarterback.

Schiano’s future could also be based on Freeman’s season next year. If Freeman underwhelms and is jettisoned off after the 2013 season, Schiano will have to begin his third season with a brand new quarterback. And while Schiano has a five-year contract in place, most coaches are judged on the first three years of their deal.


Freeman is coming off of his best season as a pro, breaking the team’s single season record for passing yards (4,065) and most touchdown passes (27) in franchise history.

But the former Kansas State star also struggled at times, particularly down the stretch, when the Buccaneers were in the thick of the playoff race. Freeman’s late-season collapse, and back-to-back four interception games against New Orleans and St. Louis, sealed the team’s fate as after a 6-4 start, the Bucs finished 7-9 on the year. The 2012 season marked the fifth season in a row without a playoff berth.

Blaming the late season collapse on Freeman alone is unfair as the Buccaneers secondary struggled all year, coming within 12 yards of setting an NFL record for most passing yards allowed in a season.

The Buccaneers are planning on addressing their secondary issues through free agency and the upcoming April NFL Draft, but their plans on addressing the quarterback will be based on Freeman’s 2013 season.

Regardless, the best-case scenario for the organization, Freeman – and the fans – would be consistent quarterback play and a trip to the postseason in 2013. If that doesn’t happen the situation in Tampa Bay will become extremely muddied and Freeman may not end up being the only casualty.

 


Last modified on Wednesday, 06 March 2013 10:11
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COMMENTS

  • avatar

    I've started looking at offering Freeman a 2-3 yr deal now as a good plan. The timing should be right for negotiations BECAUSE of his question marks. Josh could be paid fairly, without mortgaging the future and risking a needless organizational albatross. A reasonable contract leaves him "trade-able" if they choose to move in another direction in another year or two. It gives the team time to look for and/or possibly develop an alternative solution. I also believe any reasonable person should agree that 2 additional yr's is more than ample time to figure out if he can become a more dependable performer and a true leader on the field. Others, like Jon Gruden, mention this team has suffered with worse QB play & the grass isn't always greener. On this - I do agree, and feel the team can presently afford to focus on more immediate needs. I am going to take a shot at GrayBuc though. Please......say you don't really mean it when you say "can throw every pass" & feel that his pre-snap reads are in any way a strength. If those 2 items were actually strengths in Josh's game, I'd be ecstatic, and believe that Tampa fans would likely embrace him.
  • avatar

    Lol your right I no nothing about qb play. I think freeman is perfect and doesn't need to improve. I never said that he was still developing. Never did I say that. I've already stated that he has to improve on his game so sorry that I'm not going into detail every time I post. Your concerns are about things that are correctable and will come. This is still garbage regardless of what you and your "expert analysis" say.
  • avatar

    Thanks buclover1988. Good analysis... "This is dumb, we're full of it, this is garbage." If you read our concerns and analysis and understand anything about qb play you'll realize we at least have some valid concerns. The more frustrated you get won't make him any better.
  • avatar

    Lol your right I no nothing about qb play. I think freeman is perfect and doesn't need to improve. I never said that he was still developing. Never did I say that. I've already stated that he has to improve on his game so sorry that I'm not going into detail every time I post. Your concerns are about things that are correctable and will come. This is still garbage regardless of what you and yor "expert analysis" say.
  • avatar

    The Bucs need to make a serious run at Titans TE Jared Cook
  • avatar

    W.e..really this is so dumb. U know wat? Lets just go out and Sign mark Sanchez. He's so much better than freeman bc he "lead" the jets to the playoffs. Or how about Derek Anderson. He's still available. All of you including PR and the buc organization are full of it. You just continue to hound on a young qb whose set franchise records and is still developing. Makes tons of sense. W.e last time I checked freeman doesn't play defense. Really all of you stated previously are full of it. It's the biggest joke I've ever read in all the off seasons I've followed with the bucs. The playoffs will come. It was Freeman's first year with Jackson and the new system and not to mention playing behind a patch work line. Really go and kick rocks bc all of this is garbage.
  • avatar

    Muvlodge - you are exactly right. Some of our fellow Bucs fans are so emotional with their evaluations. "oh, Freeman will be the next ex-buc qb to win a super bowl." No logic behind it, just emotion. Well it's not gonna happen unless it's like a differ situation. Freeman is again gonna get every opportunity to prove he can be a consistent qb. Hopefully he plays better than his 68.4 qb rating for the last 7 games of last season. If not, it's time to move on... No excuses.
  • avatar


    O K, now I've got a headache after reading the list of mediocre horrendous QBs listed by jongruden & scubog that we Bucs fans have suffered through over the many years of the franchise! Problem is, Freeman has yet to lead the Bucs to the play-offs. If that doesn't happen this year (which I think he can), then I'm all for looking for an alternative. I've long been a supporter of Freeman, and still think he has the talent to be successful in the NFL, but I agree with the Bucs' FO to wait & see what he does this year. Free still need to improve on his short/intermediate passing game, end zone fades, stare-downs, & blocked passes. I'm not sure he still has enought weapons @ TE and 3rd WR yet. Wish we coulds get TE Eifert (or Ertz) & WR Ryan Swope in the draft to fill those holes.
  • avatar


    Excellent point about free scubog! He needs confidence and we fans need to be as loud with our support as possible, especially if schiano is not giving it to him. I don't understand why schiano doesn't instill as much confidence as possible in free even if he isn't privately sold on him as the future. It's just shooting yourself in the foot if he doesnt
  • avatar


    My opinion is really that JF is good enough to help this team win (at least) with a decent defense and may turn out to be even better (2nd level eliteish?). With a 2nd year in the same system his play is certain to elevate. If I was the GM, I would leverage the uncertainties in heis performance as of today and sign him for a long term deal now at a cap friendly price compared to the amount that will be needed to pay him after a big season (that I truly expect). He really had a good year last year and doesn't get the credit for it he deserves, so strike now!
  • avatar


    I agree with what you're saying buctebow. I was in the 23.4% that voted that way in the poll. Lock him up now for the next 5 or 6 years, while it's still cheap. Unless, of course, he's demanding to be paid like a top-tier QB already. In that case, might as well keep our options open.
  • avatar


    Not sure if this is news. After all, who isn't on a one-year deal in the NFL, as most are not guaranteed contracts. If you don't perform, you have a good chance of being replaced soon after. I'm pulling for Josh and the Bucs.
  • avatar


    Exactly Johngruden. We won a Super Bowl with Brad Johnson who was an above average QB who took care of the ball. Josh Freeman has a lot more talent. Give Josh the Bucs' 2002 defense and we would have made the playoffs last year and gone deep into them.
  • avatar


    One of your best posts jonnyg. I, along you and with many other old-schoolers, have witnessed QB after QB struggle to gain acceptance from the fickle Tampa Bay fans. We always seem to want to blame the QB for all of the teams failures. I have been through them all from Steve Spurrier to Josh Freeman and I can't think of any who were truly embraced for long by the fans the way Marino, Montana and even Cam Newton and Vince Young were by their fandom. Please don't tell me Brad Johnson who only received modest praise after we thought he was hurt and Rob Johnson the only option in 2002. Shaun King's place on the thrown lasted only until his head got too big for his crown. Randy "Why Not Minot" Hedberg's time in the fan's hearts lasted until he had to play in a real game. The biggest cheer Gary Huff ever got was when he was on the ground injured. Vinny, with Chris Chandler stabbing him in the back, never was accepted until he left. Same with Doug Williams. Trent Dilfer never was hyped after being drafted 6th overrall the way the likes of RG3 were. To me, Josh Freeman is far more good than bad. He had two games in 2012 that were not good enough to win. The rest were certainly acceptable. Confidence is a big part of anyone's success. How about for once, we Bucs fans show our QB some support and recognize the positives instead of always looking for the "yeah but" retort when he has over 4,000 yards and 27TD's.
  • avatar


    Scubog I could not disagree with you more that Josh only had 2 games where he played not good enough to win. He single handedly lost 5 games that he played TERRIBLE in. That is the bottom line and that is why he doesn't have a new contract now. If it was just 2 games the BUCS would look the other way and lock this guy up like yesterday. He has some major flaws in his game and noone knows for sure at this point if they can be remedied. They are going to take this year to evaluate just that and see if this guy can really play. It's either now or never for Freeman in Tampa. I agree totally if he can't do it while his job is on the line with the talent he has around him now....let him walk and they can even give him a kick in the *censored* for me on his way out before or after the door hits it...doesn't matter to me. Hey, if he can lead us to a wildcard we should keep him but anything less should be considered an automatic pink slip. He will truly have no excuse because the offense and defense will be even more polished and improved, so there will be no excuses!
  • avatar


    I would extend Josh for another year and pay him 15 million for it. That way he is here for two seasons without having to franchise him.
  • avatar


    I think its time to bring in a QB like Mike Moore who played in our division a few years ago and I see that one of the Draft guides suggest that in Rd4 at #15 they select Oklahoma Qb Landry Jones.A WIN WIN WIN SISTUTATION GO BUCS
  • avatar


    Another note I think since this is a such a big year for Tampa that it only helps our chances that they pull the trigger and get Revis. Especially considering we dont like the CBs available in the 1st and can solve our other issues later in the draft. Domick needs to go all in this offseason to get us in the playoffs and thats the kind of bold move that can get us over the hump. The big money we are thinking of shelling out to Sean Smith would be better spent on Revis. The signs point to Revis coming to Tampa. Playing Seattle this year doesnt hurt either considering the trash talk between Revis and Sherman. The stage is set Bring Revis to Tampa!
  • avatar


    It doesnt matter who the CB's are if the DL doesn't get pressure. Instead of spending big money on Revis, spend it on trading for Dummervil and then get some journeymen CB's and we'll be awesomely better, not perfect, but good enough to balance the team and allow the offense to win games for us.
  • avatar


    We had a season with journeyman CBs last year and we see how that turned out. Revis is 27 and not only has room to help next year but can be apart of the defense for the next 4-5 years. The chance to acquire a 27 yr old CB, that is arguably the best defensive player in the game, who has no off field issues and at an area of obvious need doesnt come around often. People laughed when Atlanta traded the world for Julio Jones and we see how that turned out.
  • avatar


    Make Josh earn his money and I think we will all be pleased with his performance. The defense MUST be fixed for him to be accurately graded IMO. You cant ask him to win EVERY game bc the defense is incapable of getting stops and then be upset with forced balls and an occasional errant throw. If he cant get it right then getting another QB sets us back at least another 2-3 years and no coach or GM will survive that. So if Schiano wants his job he better make it work. Go Bucs!
  • avatar


    Everybody should be concerned about 2013, Schiano and Dominik included. Tom Jones believes Dominik should be more concerned than anybody! And Schiano shouldn't take too much for granted because the trend in the NFL is when the GM goes, the coach usually goes too, sometimes after one year. See the Jags if you need proof. Then the history of coaches at the Bucs should give one pause. Following the retirement of the first Buc coach, John Mckay after 2 losing seasons, every Buc coach thereafter has been unceremoniously fired! I would say, not just Josh, but everybody's future is in doubt!
  • avatar


    Great post Jon Gruden couldn't agree more! MC could you let us know some of the specifics about the alleged acrimony between the staff and freeman? Is it just performance concerns or is there really dislike between schiano and free as was reported by national media?
  • avatar

    When fans want to run Free out of town it makes me chuckle cause they obviousely haven't been around as long as me to see how horrible the qb play can be ex Vinny Testeverde, DeBerg, C. Erickson, Dilfer, S. King, Gradkowski, C Simms, J Garcia just to name a few. Give me the qb who has 28 td's and 4,000 + yds oh and by the way, Flacco is a mediocre qb who excelled in the post season before this season fans were saying he sucks. look how that turned out! Be patient fellow Bucs Fans and look at the big picture not the smaller ones all the time, not everyone can have A.Rodgers under center.
  • avatar


    I'm with you on this one jongruden. Some of our fans seem to forget that, with Josh at QB, and despite injuries to our o-line, we were the best offense in the league for several weeks in the middle of the season and set several Bucs records. In Josh I see a young, maturing QB with ideal size and strength, who has proven to be durable, can throw every pass, has a calm demeanor and a great work ethic, displays leadership, has lead many last minute drives to victory, and who is getting better with every passing year. He's smart and clearly coachable...I notice this year he did a good job of sliding to avoid taking the big hit. He's learned to depend on his arm more and less on his legs. He's doing a better job of making his pre-snap reads and getting us into the optimal play. Go back and look at last year's mid-season games. He threw tons of passes that were thrown as well as they possibly could be. Picture perfect! Yes, he still has plenty of room to grow. I suspect he would be quick to admit that. I'm particularly concerned about the number of balls he had batted down at the line of scrimmage. But this is a good and improving QB. Far as I'm concerned, we're darned lucky he's a Buc.
  • avatar

    Freeman Should be alot better this season (hopefully) but I see no better option than to play the wait and see game. If Freeman has a great year than awesome, if not, we will be drafting in the top 10 and there is a slew of good QBs coming out next year. On that note, I really like the kid from Georgia, I think he has a better chance at success considering Matthew Staford comes from the same coaching in Mark Richt (or how ever you spell it). Go Bucs and Go Freeman!
  • avatar

    I strongly believe this is Frees year...He finally will be in a system for more than 1 off-season, has a great running game, and Nicks and Joseph will be back. Also he will be more comfy with VJAX. Im predicting another 4000 plus yard season and 25 plus TDs with about 8-10 INTs. Now if the pass defense can just improve to at least the middle of the rankings then I dont see why the Bucs cant make the playoffs or have at least 10 wins.
  • avatar


    pomer1eau I mostly agree with your viewpoint, Josh has never had the same system two years in a row, he should be a lot more relaxed and natural with the game slowing down for him. When some of the thinking is replaced by just reading and reacting, he will perform better. I am not sure that will be enough to really change the outcome this year for the Bucs, but it is a critical piece. JonGruden is right as well, the grass is not always greener, I think Josh is in the top half of QB's and we should be able to win with that, if the rest of the team becomes more balanced (e.g. not last in pass defense and sacks).
  • avatar

    Hearing that the team is looking hard at Freeman gives me faith. Even in games that turned out positive his mid-field indecision and zoning in on particular receivers made him look like a rookie.... and not one of the high performing rookies either. I really want to see Freeman succeed but he needs a lot of growth. We can't put our hope in mediocrity.
  • avatar

    Not really Deacon. He didn't have a great Senior Bowl or Combine and when watching his big games last year he struggled. Physically he has all the tools. He may be a Day 3 guy now.
  • avatar

    Mark im with you on Josh ,he would be no higher than a 3rd rd guy even in this years draft , but were stuck so we will pray Josh sees the light come on in his 5th season.IM rooting for him.
  • avatar


    Hey PR... Any opinions on the Bucs drafting Landry Jones on Day 2? Thats a name you havent seen bantered around. Strong arm, big 6-4 220. This is a name that has not been mentioned alot anywhere.
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