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Buccaneers release QB Josh Freeman

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

And that, as they say, is that. After benching quarterback Josh Freeman last week the Buccaneers have released the 2009 first-round pick, according to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora.

The organization issued the requisite boilerplate statement on the matter.

"We made the decision today to release Josh Freeman," general manager Mark Dominik said. "We appreciate his efforts over the past five seasons, but we felt this was in the best interests of both Josh and the Buccaneers"

The Bucs are on the hook for Freeman's full 2013 salary of $8.6 million.

The move isn't unexpected; the two sides have been hurling accusations back and forth in recent days, the most recent coming earlier Thursday when Freeman's agent charged the Buccaneers with leaking confidential information -- again -- about his client.

This comes a day after a report that the Buccaneers had fined Freeman twice and were looking to suspend him.

But that was just the beginning; on Monday, ESPN reported that Freeman was in Stage 1 of the NFL's drug program. That information is confidential, by the way, which explains why Freeman issued a statement hours later to set the record straight. (The NFLPA is investigating the matter.) It's also why the media asked Bucs coach Greg Schiano on Tuesday if he leaked that information.

"Absolutely not," he said, a response that was met with a healthy dose of skepticism by some in the media, us included.

Freeman said last week that he wanted to be traded, and the team was reportedly trying to oblige him.

One problem, as pointed out by former NFL front-office executive Andrew Brandt: What team would trade for Freeman when it was clear the Bucs would almost certainly end up releasing him?

Which brings us back to the present.

The Buccaneers were out of options, and uninterested in paying Freeman to be inactive every week. So they cut him loose.

That leads to two questions: 1) Which quarterback-needy team will be the first to sign Freeman? And 2) How long until Bucs' management decides that Schiano needs to follow Freeman out the door?

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