The Tampa Bay Buccaneers do not want quarterback Josh Freeman. Yet, Bucs coach Greg Schiano and general manager Mark Dominik seemingly do not want to release him because the team would be responsible for paying the remaining portion of Freeman's $8.4 million salary. The only way around paying Freeman is to say he committed an act that was detrimental to the team.
That is why this story should not come as a surprise.
SI.com reporter Jim Trotter learned Freeman has been recently fined by the Buccaneers. Here is a portion of Trotter’s report:
“Freeman has been fined twice by the club in the last month, including once in the last week, for conduct detrimental to the team. The infractions include missing at least one team meeting and participating in an unauthorized media interview. According to a source, Freeman plans to appeal the fines.
“The fine potentially sets up a scenario under which Tampa Bay can suspend Freeman without pay. That would allow the team to attempt to trade the fifth-year QB while not paying a portion of his salary.”
That could explain why players reportedly grew suspicious on Tuesday after Freeman was excused from a team meeting by Dominik. Bucs players allegedly believed management wanted Freeman away from the meeting to give the appearance he blew off another assembly.
While Schiano and Dominik focus on getting rid of Freeman, the constant barrage of bad attention surrounding the quarterback is negatively affecting Bucs players.
Buccaneers left tackle Donald Penn was a guest of Bill Polian and Alex Marvez on SiriusXM NFL Radio this past Tuesday, and when the subject of how news leaked about Freeman being in the substance-abuse program, he said, “they’re really trying to bring him down.” Penn cleared up who he was referring to on Wednesday.
“Y’all! The media. The Media. The Media. The Media. Y’all,” Penn told JoeBucsFan.com. “Y’all are all trying to find any way to tarnish his character and make it sound like he is not a good guy, like he is not a good person, like this is all his fault. That is y’all reporting that stuff. That is y’all. So don’t try to switch it up like it isn’t y’all. It’s y’all. The media.”
The media is definitely reporting about this debacle, but there is not a reporter responsible for benching Freeman, barring him from the sidelines during a game, or telling him to skip a team meeting. That culprit is Schiano, but since Penn will not attack his coach, it makes the “media” an easy target.
What continues to get lost in the ridiculous antics surrounding Freeman is Tampa Bay’s 0-4 record this season. Schiano has only one win in Tampa Bay’s past 10 games, and his poor coaching ability has arguably done more to hurt the franchise than Freeman, who threw 25 touchdowns and six interceptions during a 10-6 season (2010) under former coach Raheem Morris. Whenever Freeman moves on, Schiano will remain behind, which is the real problem.
However, money appears to be Tampa Bay's only concern.