Sep 15, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman (5) slides for a first down during the first half of the game against the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports
With fifth-year quarterback Josh Freeman benched in favor of third-round rookie Mike Glennon, it’s clear that the Buccaneers see no future with the franchise for their former first-round draft choice. So what’s the next move for the Tampa Bay front office with a potentially talented player who either has not performed well or has lost confidence since an impressive 2010 season?
According to Jason La Canfora, it could mean a trade is imminent.
For the Buccaneers, it might not be the best route to trade Freeman, because they could get better value by simply allowing him to leave as a free agent, thanks to the compensatory draft pick system.
Since the Buccaneers will likely not be signing many free agents after the 2013 season is over, they’ll likely receive a decent compensatory pick for Freeman. But that reward is delayed a season, and the Buccaneers could likely get a pick in the 2014 NFL Draft from a team in need of a quarterback now.
So who would be the potential trade partners for the Buccaneers if they deal Freeman before the trade deadline? First of all, it has to be a team with more than 6.44 million dollars in cap space, according to Pro Football Talk.
That eliminates possible trade partners in the Cardinals, Raiders, Jets, Cowboys, Vikings, and Giants among other teams, according to overthecap. The Buccaneers could work the numbers to make a deal work, but in doing so they’d sacrifice some of their rollover cap space for next season.
So that leaves the Browns, Jaguars, and Eagles as the only teams with cap space and a potential need for a quarterback. For the Browns, they have a boatload of cap space and multiple high draft choices in the 2014 draft. They’re not going to bring in Freeman for a trial run, as their franchise QB is in the 2014 NFL Draft class.
Likewise for the Jaguars, they’ll be content to see if Blaine Gabbert can turn things around, and keep their cap space and draft choices and go for a rookie QB in 2014.
The Philadelphia Eagles are a slightly different story. If Michael Vick gets hurt, they may consider a trade to fill in for him. Freeman is athletic enough to run the read option, but it is certainly not something he has experience with and will be guaranteed to pick up quickly. Not to mention the fast pace of Kelly’s offense would be a shock to Freeman after his time in Tampa.
So in other words, don’t hold your breath if you’re waiting for a Josh Freeman trade to happen. Because unless a team like the Raiders can free up enough cap space to give Freeman a chance, the Buccaneers will likely take their 2015 compensatory draft choice and move on with a new quarterback.