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Josh Freeman's potential teams: Packers, Raiders?

Now that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are shelling out just under $6 million for the remainder of Josh Freeman's 2013 salary, a quarterback with 59 starts over the past five seasons is free for the taking.


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Let's break down Freeman's potential landing spots.

1. Oakland Raiders: The NFL is about connections. Freeman has one in Oakland with offensive coordinator Greg Olson, who ran the Buccaneers' offense during the quarterback's best seasons. Although Terrelle Pryor certainly has flashed potential, the organization has been skeptical that he will emerge as the long-term solution. At the very least, Freeman could push Matt Flynn off the roster now that coach Dennis Allen has banished general manager Reggie McKenzie's acquisition to third-stringer.

2. Green Bay Packers: Alex Van Pelt is the Packers' running backs coach. Three years ago -- when he was the Buccaneers' quarterbacks coach -- Van Pelt insisted there was no quarterback in the NFL for whom he would swap Freeman. Van Pelt said Thursday via ESPN.com that Freeman was "nothing but a pro" and there's "no doubt" his former pupil can be a starting quarterback again. Coach Mike McCarthy has been looking for Aaron Rodgers' backup since Flynn flew the coop after the 2011 season.

3. Buffalo Bills: If it's determined that EJ Manuel's knee sprain will force him to miss months rather than weeks, the Bills will move to the top of this list. It was abundantly obvious in Thursday's 37-24 loss to the Browns that undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel is overmatched as an NFL starter.

4. Cincinnati Bengals: Owner/general manager Mike Brown can't resist a tempting reclamation project. Failed early-round prospects have been washing out on the banks of the Ohio River ever since Brown realized a decade ago that he couldn't compete with the big dogs in free agency.

5. Cleveland Browns: This team immediately leaked word that they weren't interested once Freeman was placed on the trade block one week ago. The Browns are concentrating on finding a "championship level quarterback," which would seem to preclude a flier on a scattershot quarterback with maturity concerns. That stance might change if Brian Hoyer tore ligaments in his knee Thursday, as the Browns suspect. The new regime clearly is not sold on Brandon Weeden.

6. Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars' interest level in Freeman is "very little to none," according to ESPN.com. Perhaps they don't want to mess with their chances of landing the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.

7. Tennessee Titans: General manager Ruston Webster and a few of the team's scouts have ties to the Buccaneers' front office. NFL Media's Albert Breer and Ian Rapoport each have expressed skepticism that the Titans will reach out to Freeman, even with no proven backup to Ryan Fitzpatrick while Jake Locker nurses his hip injury.

8. New York Jets: A Freeman signing would necessitate coach Rex Ryan winning out in a power struggle over general manager John Idzik. Ryan has the defense to win now, but Idzik's hand-picked rookie quarterback isn't ready for prime time.

9. Arizona Cardinals: Rapoport reported Thursday on NFL Network's "Around the League Live" that the Cardinals are not interested in Freeman.

Other teams that could use an upgrade on their quarterback depth chart: Minnesota Vikings, St. Louis Rams, Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bears, New York Giants.

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