The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have finally released quarterback Josh Freeman.
Given the public battles Tampa Bay and Freeman had over his benching, it was just a matter of time before it happened. ESPN reporter Adam Schefter said the Bucs pulled the trigger and severed ties with their quarterback.
Filed to ESPN: Bucs have released QB Josh Freeman. Bucs tried to trade him but couldn't.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 3, 2013
As a result of the release, Freeman is entitled the remaining portion of the $8.4 million salary owed to him by Tampa Bay. FoxSports.com pointed out that because of Freeman's contract, he will become a free agent on Thursday afternoon, a few hours after his release.
Tampa Bay general manager Mark Dominik addressed Thursday's dismal of Freeman through a press release on the team's website:
"We made the decision today to release Josh Freeman. We appreciate his efforts over the past five seasons, but we felt this was in the best interests of both Josh and the Buccaneers."
Freeman’s release was building after coach Greg Schiano and general manager Mark Dominik mishandled Tampa Bay’s former first-round pick.
The Buccaneers didn't show much faith in Freeman this offseason, drafting N.C. State quarterback Mike Glennon in the third-round. Then reports came out that Freeman missed a team photo, which Schiano willingly confirmed. It showed how distant Schiano and Freeman were, and that relationship never improved.
Freeman was not voted team captain, an honor he held the last three years, and there was speculation that coach Schiano may have rigged the vote. The Buccaneers benched Freeman after three mediocre starts, then it got ugly.
Tampa Bay wouldn't let him be on the sideline for last week's game, banishing him to a suite. Someone leaked to ESPN that Freeman was in the NFL's drug program, and Freeman shot back that he was taking medication for ADHD. There were reports of multiple fines for Freeman over the past few weeks by the team.
Freeman, who was a first-round pick (17th overall) of Tampa Bay in 2009 and is just 25 years old, has thrown for 13,534 yards, 80 touchdowns and 66 interceptions in his career. He was the third quarterback selected after Detroit's Matthew Stafford (No.1 overall) and New Jets' Mark Sanchez (fifth overall) in 2009, and could generate teams that are in need of a quarterback, like Jacksonville and Oakland.
- - -