The Luxury Box:
A Josh Freeman Sweepstakes?
A Rory Anderson column, follow me on twitter @holistic_pickle
There is a lot going on in Tampa Bay and frankly most of it I just don’t understand. Not only is there the entire Josh Freeman situation, but there is also news today that defensive end Adrian Clayborne will no longer be starting and is dealing with “confidence issues”. I entirely support any head coach that wants to put his stamp on a team, but there is an utter disaster brewing in Florida. From an outsider’s perspective, something simply does not add up. It seems as if the culture of chaos is so deeply engrained in this franchise they just cannot shake it. I wonder if these were the statements people made when the Buccaneers ruined and wasted the talents of Steve Young and then he got traded to San Francisco and went on to be a hall of fame player.
Freeman Gets Cut
This is a very practical solution for this entire debacle. If this happens although I find it unlikely, any team can go after Freeman, and he may even be inclined to sign with a team that has a solidified starter simply to do some learning as a backup. If he is cut the Buccaneers will save 8.5 million dollars and will have done him a huge favor. Remember, Freeman is only 25 years old and has pretty solid mechanics, but he could definitely use a mentor to help teach him all the things he never learned in Tampa Bay. If he is cut there should be some pretty solid interest from multiple teams and I am sure he would get signed fairly quickly wherever he would want to play. A team such as the Texans may consider signing him to a multi-year contract for a minimal salary and see how things progress with Matt Schaub.
Brian Hoyer has led the Browns to two consecutive wins and is a favorite of new general manager Mike Lombardi, but that does not stop me from thinking he would not jump on the opportunity to grab Freeman if only for a backup. I am not entirely sold on Hoyer and I doubt he is the long term solution in Cleveland. At a minimum the Browns could bring in Freeman to compete with him and see if one of those guys can be their franchise quarterback going forward. Freeman would be a nice fit with the Norv Turner offense and its downfield passing working off playaction, but most of all, Norv could really have a calming influence on him. Of course, all of this goes out the window if in fact the Browns are preparing themselves to draft Teddy Bridgewater quarterback from Louisville.
This team is clearly headed for the number one overall pick and the opportunity to draft Bridgewater, but that does not stop a general manager or a head coach from wanting to add a better player especially at the quarterback position. The combination of Chad Henne and Blaine Gabbert is an insult to the position and this team has a pair of solid receivers now that Justin Blackmon is off suspension. Overall this seems like a fairly unlikely place for Freeman to be traded to unless the Jaguars wanted to trade Maurice Jones-Drew and operate with a run heavy scheme with two very talented running backs. Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano has expressed his intent to have a run based offense and the NFL has seen some prolific tandems including the pairing of Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew when MJD was a rookie.
As all the readers should know, I am a Raiders fan and I can tell you first hand, the performance of Matt Flynn on Sunday was beyond atrocious. Granted the offensive coordinator had some terrible play calls making it even worse, but what Flynn proved is that he may be book smart, but he cannot translate that into on field success. The biggest issue for the Raiders is the huge difference in skill sets between Flynn and Pryor. In the second half, every pass play was a downfield route concept and the Redskins countered perfectly with two deep safeties and a lot of man coverage underneath. This meant every receiver was covered downfield and it threw Flynn of his timing and he held onto the ball too long getting him sacked seven times. If Pryor played he would have rushed for 150 yards because the defensive backs all turned their backs to the quarterback leaving huge running lanes.
I am sure Flynn has had some positive impact on Pryor and has probably been a great teammate, but the Raiders need someone that can play like Pryor and although Freeman isn’t as fast as Pryor, he is very athletic and can run decently. I think the Raiders should offer up Flynn and McFadden for Freemand and defensive end Adrian Clayborn who is also on Schiano’s hit list. The Raiders have two million in cap space. By trading Flynn they open up 1.2 million more, but they eat five million. With McFadden, the Raiders would pay 5.8 million of his 10 million dollar salary in the final year of his contract. The Bucs would eat 1.5 million of Freeman’s contract, but the Raiders would have to pay him 8 million. The way this would work is for the Raiders to work out a contract extension ahead of time with Freeman and then make the trade. A restructure would possibly be cutting his 2013 salary to 2.5 million and spread the other 5.5 million over 2-3 more years.
This may seem farfetched, but could you imagine the tandem of Doug Martin and Darren McFadden in Tampa Bay with those guards blocking? It would be exactly what Greg Schiano would want to do with his football team and the splitting of carries would be best for both Martin and McFadden. McFadden’s days in Oakland are done. Reggie McKenzie will not pay big money to a running back, instead he will move forward with Latavius Murray who is on IR this year and he will probably draft a couple of players.
When it’s all said in done, none of us know what will happen with Freeman. Most likely he will be cut by the Buccaneers and he will go somewhere where he can have a breather, but it only takes one team to make everything exciting. Watch for any potential movement on Freeman with the trade deadline approaching in a few weeks. Deadlines always make things happen.
Picking Winners: Browns, Bears, Bengals, Colts, Ravens, Giants, Packers, Rams, Chiefs, Cardinals, Broncos, 49ers, Falcons, Raiders
This Column was written by Rory Anderson. Rory is a Diehard Oakland Raiders Fan. You can Follow him on Twitter: @holistic_pickle