[Editor’s Note: Guest Post by Ryan Kelapire, Twitter: @RyanKelapire]
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced earlier today that they have released quarterback Josh Freeman.
Since being drafted in 2009, the former Kansas State Wildcat has already made 59 career starts in five seasons in the NFL despite being only 25-years-old. Freeman had some pretty impressive years in Tampa, too.
In 2010, he threw for nearly 3,500 yards while racking up 25 passing touchdowns and only six interceptions while being named as a Pro Bowl alternate. Just last season, Freeman threw for over 4,000 yards and 27 passing touchdowns. It’s clear that Freeman is capable of having success in this league.
Why would the Oakland Raiders be interested in Freeman?
Interestingly enough, the offensive coordinator of the Bucs in 2010 (Freeman’s best season) was none other than Greg Olson. Yes, the same Greg Olson who is now the offensive coordinator of the Raiders.
Certainly, Olson knows what the Raiders would be getting in Freeman and also knows how to use him effectively. If the Raiders are to sign Freeman to a reasonable contract, and he plays anywhere near the level he did in 2010, this would be a huge steal.
Finding a franchise quarterback (or an above average quarterback) in the NFL is not easy, but as Al Davis showed us with Jim Plunkett and Rich Gannon, sometimes all it takes a second chance in the right environment. Freeman certainly has the talent to become a force in this league, and on talent alone; he’s worth a shot.
Furthermore, we saw on Sunday that the Raiders don’t really have a capable backup, and the coaches seem to agree. Matt Flynn, who was acquired in the off-season and given a lucrative contract, was supposed to be the starter this season. Unfortunately he’s not the player the Raiders thought they were getting.
After a disappointing spot start against the Redskins on Sunday, Flynn was demoted to third string behind Matt McGloin. So as it stands right now, an undrafted free agent is the backup quarterback for the Raiders. This is definitely a concern since starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor has already missed a game due to a concussion this season and because of the way he plays, there is always a high risk of injury. The last thing we want to see is a repeat of Sunday’s performance. Bringing in a quarterback that has already had success in this league would instantly stabilize the backup quarterback spot.
On top of that, it’s still too early to claim that Pryor is the quarterback of the future for the Raiders. I’ve certainly been impressed by what I’ve seen from Pryor this season, but he’s only started three games and there are still concerns about his mechanics and footwork. Assuming the Raiders don’t use one of their top picks on a quarterback in the upcoming draft, an open competition between Pryor and Freeman in 2014 would certainly be interesting. Both players are physically gifted and both are still in their mid-twenties. They both still have room to grow and improve and the way I see it, the more options you have the better.
You never know, Freeman might return to his 2010 form or maybe Pryor continues to develop. Either way, it’s a win-win scenario for the Raiders and that’s all that’s what matters. Just as Al Davis said, “Just win, baby.”