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With Josh Freeman's tenure in Tampa Bay now obviously shortlived -- an eventuality we reported two weeks ago -- attention has turned to what the Buccaneers could fetch for him in a trade. It's clear Tampa head coach Greg Schiano would prefer Freeman to be out of his organization, and given the obvious bad blood between Schiano and his former starting quarterback, some believe the Bucs would ultimately just cut Freeman regardless to eradicate the situation.
With that in mind, Freeman's trade value has been even further diminished, including being inactive for Week 4. Though the opportunity to buy low on a passer who threw for 4,000 yards and 27 touchdowns -- and who has better stats than Eli Manning through his first four seasons -- may be enough to entice at least one GM to make an offer. Tampa would gladly take a fifth-round pick for him, sources said, at this point, though Freeman's $8.4M salary is another potential hurdle.
One personnel executive suggested that in actuality, the most likely scenario for a Freeman trade is player-for-player, with the other team moving a higher-priced veteran not in their future plans for Freeman, and the costs and cap ramifications being more or less a wash for both clubs.
Acquiring him at the trade deadline would require a $4.2M investment, but the Bucs would have to eat all of that salary if they cut Freeman, or let him rot as a third-string quarterback there, so even eating a few million of his contract would make more fiscal sense than paying all of his salary to stand on the sidelines and hold a clipboard while third-round QB Mike Glennon faces the difficult chore of trying to lead this offense on the fly, with the Bucs already 0-3 and showing little ability to win close games for a multitude of reasons above and beyond their quarterback play.
Furthermore, contrary to reports, sources said Freeman would be open to doing a short-term extension with another team should they acquire him, which could spur trade activity as well. Minnesota, where former first-round pick Christian Ponder seems to be losing his grip on his job, is one possibility for Freeman should they not turn things around. And, invariably, teams with high expectations will unfortunately suffer injuries to their quarterbacks as well, which would create more of a market for Freeman.