Shutdown Corner

Josh Freeman has his captaincy taken away in Tampa Bay

Frank Schwab
Shutdown Corner

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(USA Today Sports Images)

While we've been focusing on the odd quarterback situation with the Jets, Terrelle Pryor starting for the Raiders or whatever is going on with Tony Romo these days, a dysfunctional quarterback situation has somehow slid under the radar.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are making it very clear to Josh Freeman that the relationship might get kind of messy this season.

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Once a player is a captain, he generally remains a captain, unless something unusual happens. That's especially true at quarterback. No quarterback is going to be voted out as a captain, and certainly not for a receiver in his second year with the team. Except in Tampa Bay.

Josh Freeman had been a captain with the Buccaneers for three years, but his teammates decided he wouldn't be captain a fourth time, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

If you want to say NFL captaincy means nothing, that's fine. But you'd be ignoring that getting the captain's "C" taken away is extremely unusual, and also would ignore that it's yet another sign that the Buccaneers might be preparing to move on.

The team has not been incredibly supportive of Freeman, who is in a contract year, this offseason. That culminated with the team selecting Mike Glennon from N.C. State in the third round, as the second quarterback off the board. Glennon got a ton of playing time this preseason, which wasn't exactly subtle.

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So the Buccaneers have avoided signing Freeman to a long-term contract, drafted his possible successor and then the team voted guard Davin Joseph and receiver Vincent Jackson as offensive captains instead of Freeman again. Jackson is in just his second Tampa Bay season. The Buccaneers' next step might be putting some "For Sale" signs on Freeman's front yard.

Usually a team has signed its quarterback long term or it is clear that the relationship will end as soon as it's economically feasible. For a while it seemed like Freeman was one of those rare young quarterbacks whose future was legitimately in doubt. Now it seems more like Freeman might be playing out the string in Tampa.

Perhaps Freeman plays as well as he did in the first half of last season, before he collapsed down the stretch and brought some of this uncertainty upon himself. At that point the Buccaneers might feel good about signing him to a new deal. But at the moment, it seems like Freeman has to simply get back in the circle of trust before he can take some steps towards that.

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