What Happened?: The FAILED Josh Freeman Experiment
Coming into the 2009 NFL Draft, the Buccaneers had their eyes on a quarterback. There was a 6 foot 6, 250 pound quarterback out of Kansas State University that they had their eye on. That man was Josh Freeman. After passing for over 8,000 career yards, Freeman was getting a lot of attention. He had the size, arm talent and a ton of potential. Although he was up and down in college, tossing 44 passing touchdowns to 34 interceptions in 3 seasons, he was widely considered a project worth developing.
The Buccaneers would select Freeman 17th overall in the first round, making him the third quarterback drafted behind Matthew Stafford (1st) and Mark Sanchez (6th). Although Freeman showed signs of promise such as being the youngest QB in Bucs franchise history to win his first game and defeating the 13-1 New Orleans Saints in overtime, he would struggle with consistency and turnovers throwing 18 interceptions in his rookie season. His sophomore season in 2010 would be his best season ever.
After struggling with turnovers his rookie year, he would only toss 6 interceptions and led the Buccaneers to a 10-6 winning record. But unfortunately for Freeman, Head Coach Raheem Morris was fired and he was given a new coach, Greg Schiano. 2011 showed a lot of promise for Freeman, with the Bucs bringing in Vincent Jackson, Dallas Clark and Carl Nicks. However, Freeman would struggle mightily during this season. He threw 22 interceptions that season, which led the NFL. He also ended that season on a 10 game losing streak.
In 2012, he would improve again, only throwing 17 interceptions but throwing a career high 27 touchdowns. Much like at Kansas State, Freeman was very up and down in the NFL. He was not consistent whatsoever. Josh Freeman did not have a great relationship with Greg Schiano. They didn’t click or mesh. Rumor stated that Schiano didn’t envision Freeman as his quarterback, hence why the Buccaneers selected Mike Glennon in the 3rd round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Schiano also didn’t elect Josh Freeman as a team captain and benched him during the season.
Freeman was eventually released after missing the team photo. He would have brief stints with the Vikings, Dolphins, Colts and the CFL before retiring in 2018.
My Verdict: Josh Freeman’s inability to remain consistent was a big issue on why he failed to be a franchise QB. Who goes from throwing 6 interceptions one season to 17 the next? Losing Raheem Morris also hurt Freeman big time. Greg Schiano didn’t click with Freeman and didn’t believe in him. They constantly butted heads. While Schiano owns some blame, it was ultimately Josh Freeman’s own fault he didn’t succeed. He was given the tools to succeed and he couldn’t capitalize at all. Jameis Winston has a great chance to be what Freeman could not. A Franchise QB for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.