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Insider

Josh Freeman's next team

9/16/2013

The beginning of the 2013 NFL campaign couldn't be going much worse for Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman. There have been reports that there is a "growing disconnect" between the quarterback and coach Greg Schiano and that Freeman likely will ask to be dealt away prior to the trade deadline next month. Making matters worse has been his play on the field. After two games, the Bucs are 0-2 and Freeman has completed only 45.3 percent of his passes for 335 yards, 2 TDs and 2 INTs.



ESPN Bucs reporter Pat Yasinskas thinks Freeman and Schiano are a bad pairing. "When Schiano took the job last year, it appeared the one thing he had going for him was a franchise quarterback. But to this point, Schiano and his coaching staff have done nothing but ruin Freeman," Yasinskas wrote. "How? Schiano is too rigid. He's trying to make Freeman into something he's not, and that has led to a quarterback regression unlike anything I've ever seen."

Freeman will be a free agent after the 2013 season, and barring a dramatic turnaround, he almost certainly will be playing for a new team next season, or earlier if he's dealt during this season.

Where might he land? Much will depend on how things play out with quarterback situations across the NFL during the remainder of the season, or at least until the deadline, though in-season trades of starting quarterbacks are rare. But there are some spots that make sense.

Surely Freeman will want a shot at competing for a starting job, and he may be able to get that with the Oakland Raiders, depending on how the rest of the season goes for Terrelle Pryor. Freeman had his best production under current Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson when Olson had the same job with the Bucs. Perhaps Pryor and Freeman could battle it out next season.

If Freeman is willing to accept a pure backup role on a good team, the Washington Redskins would make sense, considering his former head coach in Tampa, Raheem Morris, is the Skins' defensive backs coach. Freeman could back up Robert Griffin III if the Redskins opt to trade Kirk Cousins. Freeman's former quarterbacks coach, Alex Van Pelt, is now the running backs coach for the Green Bay Packers, who are seemingly in constant need of a decent backup to Aaron Rodgers.

Obviously, Freeman will have much more interest from NFL teams as a backup. A team like the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he would back up Ben Roethlisberger -- who is often hurt and who Freeman has often been compared to -- would make a lot of sense.

A number of other teams could be breaking in a rookie at quarterback next season -- perhaps the Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings and Jacksonville Jaguars -- and Freeman could be brought in to hold down the fort until they can get a young quarterback up to speed.

As has been noted ad nauseam, Freeman can quiet all these rumors in the short term by performing well on the field. That would also increase the odds of his having a legitimate shot at securing a chance to compete for a starting job somewhere in 2014.