Last season, after quarterback Josh Freeman was cut by Tampa Bay, multiple teams were interested. MInnesota landed him on a one-year deal for $3 million, not a bad sum for less than a full season.
Less than a year later, Freeman hasn't been able to find a job on the open market. Teams have had a month to acquire him as a free agent, but there has been surprisingly little news on Freeman, before reports this week that he visited with the Chicago Bears.
Even though Freeman is just 26, it seems like he's at the point where he really needs the Bears and offensive guru coach Marc Trestman to sign him, just to save his career. ESPN Chicago said there were no immediate plans to sign Freeman after a workout Monday, although that could change down the road.
What happened to Freeman? He's a former first-round pick whose 2010 season (25 touchdowns, six interceptions, 95.9 rating) is far better than anything fellow quarterbacks such as Brandon Weeden or Colt McCoy have done in the NFL, and those two signed as backups.
Freeman was embroiled in a controversy in Tampa Bay, but coach Greg Schiano deserved more than his share of the blame for that. He seemed to be getting a new start in Minnesota. He started a game at the Giants shortly after he was signed, and couldn't have been ready to run the Vikings offense. Despite that, the Vikings had a mind-numbing game plan to let Freeman throw 53 times. And he was terrible. He completed just 20 of those passes and most of the incompletions weren't close to the target. Still, it didn't seem like a career-ending performance at the time. But he never played for the Vikings again, and he's still looking for a job weeks after free agency started.
If anyone can revive Freeman it might be Trestman. Josh McCown never played as well as Freeman in his first 10 NFL seasons, but in the Bears' offense he had a great stretch of six starts. McCown parlayed that into a nice deal with the Buccaneers to start for them (Tampa Bay might be in for a lesson on sample sizes pretty soon). Bears starter Jay Cutler has dealt with plenty of injury issues the past few years, thanks to the beating he has taken in his career. Ending up as the Bears' backup would be a fantastic opportunity for Freeman, considering there has been very, very little interest in him to this point. Though, the fact that Freeman left the Bears without a contract, even though Chicago has no proven veteran backing up Cutler on the roster, isn't the best sign for him.
Wherever Freeman ends up (assuming he ends up somewhere), he better make the most of his chance, because it seems like he's close to being out of the NFL for good.
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