Halfway through the 2012 season, Josh Freeman was playing as well as any signal caller in the league and looked like he was going to be quarterbacking the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the next 10 years or so.
But after Freeman slumped down the stretch – he had nine interceptions in the final three games – the Bucs aren't discussing a contract extension this offseason. That means Freeman, who was Tampa Bay's first-round pick in 2009, will play out the final year of his rookie contract in 2013.
If he plays well, the Bucs could use the franchise tag on him and attempt to negotiate a long-term deal. If he plays poorly, the Bucs could let him walk in free agency.
That may seem crazy given the fact that Freeman just set franchise single-season records for passing yards (4,065) and touchdowns (27). But Freeman is only 24-32 as a starter during his career and he's never led the Bucs to the playoffs.
Head coach Greg Schiano has already publicly stated that he would to add competition for Freeman for next year. And while Schiano has said many good things about Freeman, he wasn't here when the Bucs drafted him and has no ties to No. 5.
Of course, it all comes down to how Freeman performs next season. His play will ultimately be the deciding factor as to whether or not he has a long career in pewter and red.Tags: Football, Josh Freeman, NFL, Tampa Bay, Tampa Bay Buccaneers