Buccaneers keeping options open with Josh Freeman


From an outsider's perspective, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers appear to be at a crossroads with quarterback Josh Freeman.

Freeman delivered another maddeningly inconsistent season for the Bucs in 2012, throwing for 4,000 yards and 27 touchdowns, but struggling with accuracy (54.8 completion percentage) and ball security (19 turnovers).

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Given his inconsistency, it's easy to understand why the Buccaneers have decided to let Freeman play out the final year of his rookie contract rather than hand out an extension. Bucs co-chairman Joel Glazer says their choice not to negotiate says nothing about their confidence in the quarterback.

"There are options," Glazer said, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. "You saw with the Ravens, it all worked out for them."

Glazer is referring, of course, to the Ravens' decision to let Joe Flacco play out the final year of his rookie deal in 2012. Flacco led Baltimore to a Super Bowl title, then cleaned up with the biggest contract in NFL history.

We suppose the Bucs should be so lucky, though if they really believe in Freeman, they should probably lock him up before his value can skyrocket like Flacco's did. But that's beside the point.

A more accurate truth is probably that the Bucs still believe in Freeman, just not enough to commit any more to him than they already have. The team's failed courtship of Matt Cassel last week speaks louder than Glazer's spin.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.