On Thursday, the soap opera between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a coach fighting to save his job and a disgruntled quarterback finally came to a head – and the quarterback lost out big-time.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers officially released Josh Freeman, giving rookie Mike Glennon the chance to start without constantly looking over shoulder. It’s surely a weight lifted for him, as his backup, Freeman, is the franchise’s career leader with 80 touchdown passes.
The Bucs have done everything they can to sully the still-young passer’s reputation. However, that does not change one simple fact: the 17th-overall selection from the 2009 Draft is coming off a season of 4,065 yards and 27 touchdowns. Now he can be picked up for relatively cheap by any team out there.
Furthermore, just like every year, there are plenty of teams out there in the quarterback market.
That got us thinking: What is the best idea for a team buried in the cellar of their division?
The 2014 Draft will be stacked with signal-callers. Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, Clemson’s Tajh Boyd, UCLA’s Brett Hundley, Miami’s Stephen Morris and LSU’s Zach Mettenberger are all first-round talents. Alabama’s A.J. McCarron and Georgia’s Aaron Murray may be as well. Baylor’s Bryce Petty may leave if he continues to play at a high level, and so may Oregon State’s Sean Mannion. Fresno State’s Derek Carr, Ball State’s Keith Wenning and San Jose State’s David Fales have all proven they can hold their own against the nation’s bigger names.
All of these young men will show off their stuff this year and then at the NFL Combine. Most will impress, and several will be taken in the first round. But is drafting a quarterback the best course of action for a team currently floundering its way through the 2013 season?
Freeman may be seen as damaged goods at the moment. However, most within the league understand that Bucs coach Greg Schiano simply wanted his own guy under center. He basically forced Freeman out despite a very good 2012 season.
Another team may be able to resurrect this young man’s career. But should they?
Is a team like Jacksonville better served bringing in Freeman for a one-year tryout and then deciding what to do in the Draft? Or should the Jags tank the rest of the way, get the No. 1 pick and select Bridgewater? Oakland still needs a passer. Should the Raiders bring in Freeman to compete with current starter Terrelle Pryor, or draft a guy like McCarron to try and beat Pryor out?
Basically, this is the question a number of NFL general managers are asking themselves right now: what is worth more at the moment, damaged but talented goods, or an elite but unknown and inexperienced entity?
If you were at the reigns of a billion dollar operation that desperately needed a quarterback to win games for the next four years, which would you choose?