Josh Freeman is a former first-round pick, a 25-year-old physical specimen who threw for more than 4,000 yards and 27 touchdowns last season.
And now he's available. Freeman doesn't have to pass through waivers after his release from the Buccaneers. He is an unrestricted free agent.
Freeman was cut loose by the Buccaneers after one of the ugliest, most unprofessional public battles in recent NFL memory. From all accounts Freeman wasn't blameless in the mess. But now both sides can move on.
[Eric Adelson: Roger Goodell must address Josh Freeman mess ASAP]
And whatever issues Freeman has had, and whatever petty efforts the Buccaneers made to poison his name around the NFL the last few weeks, he shouldn't be out of work long.
Freeman's problem has been inconsistency. Last year alone he was on a roller coaster, playing great through 10 weeks and terrible in the last six. But it's those first 10 weeks, his age, size (6-6, 240), arm and the possibility that Tampa Bay's offense held him back that should be intriguing for these teams:
Raiders: Oakland offensive coordinator Greg Olson was on Tampa Bay's offensive staff from 2008-11. He has seen the best of Freeman (25 touchdowns, six interceptions) and the Raiders could use him. Matt Flynn has been demoted to No. 3, Terrelle Pryor's desire to run makes him an injury risk, and current No. 2 Matt McGloin hasn't yet proven he can be a NFL quarterback. It's not too hard to imagine Freeman getting some playing time at some point this season in Oakland.
Jaguars: Blaine Gabbert is one of the worst starting quarterbacks in recent NFL history. Chad Henne hasn't taken advantage of his opportunities. Freeman would be the Jaguars' best quarterback by far if he signed, and this is easily Freeman's best situation if he wants to play the rest of the season. On any other team he'd need an injury to get a chance to play. In Jacksonville, it would be surprising if he didn't get a few starts before the season was over. But the Jaguars might be content to tank this season and take Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater with the first pick of the draft.
Packers: The Packers have veteran Seneca Wallace as Aaron Rodgers' backup. It would be good for Freeman to be on a non-dysfunctional team for the rest of the season, with the opportunity to practice in a real offense. And the Packers might finally get a legitimate backup for Rodgers.
Texans: Not for this season. Freeman isn't going to be able to come in, learn the system and replace the embattled Matt Schaub. But Schaub is 32 and seems to be fading. If the Texans can tap into the good things that Freeman has showed, maybe this could be a decent fit for the future. And unlike a lot of other teams that make sense for Freeman, the Texans are unlikely to have a high pick in the quarterback-rich 2014 draft.
Titans: The Titans are 3-1 and Jake Locker's hip injury might keep him out for two months. Ryan Fitzpatrick is a safe replacement, but the promising Titans might want a decent backup plan for him, in case he gets hurt or struggles.
Bears: The Bears are in a pattern of playing well for Jay Cutler, then blowing it when he's injured. If Cutler went down again, who would you rather have trying to keep your playoff hopes alive until he came back: Freeman or Josh McCown?
Browns: Maybe we should all be sold on Brian Hoyer after two weeks, but it never hurts to have options, even if they do plan to draft a quarterback next year.
Vikings: Matt Cassel isn't the long-term answer. Christian Ponder definitely isn't the long-term answer. So what would be so bad about taking a shot on Freeman and seeing what kind of fit he might be for 2014?
Rams: Kellen Clemens is the only quarterback on the roster behind Sam Bradford. And Bradford's play so far this season produces plenty of questions about whether he's the quarterback of the future in St. Louis. Like many of the other teams on this list, what would they have to lose by bringing in a player of Freeman's talent for the rest of the season to see what he might do in a new environment?
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