With no immediate end in sight to the standoff between the Bucs and quarterback Josh Freeman, the news keeps getting messier out of Tampa.
(UPDATE, 3:25 p.m.: Tampa Bay released Freeman.)
On Wednesday, Jim Trotter of SI.com reported that the Bucs fined Freeman twice in recent weeks, perhaps in an eventual bid to suspend the quarterback for conduct detrimental to the team. Such a move would save the Bucs more than $400,000 per game, up to a month. The team is also actively trying to trade the former first-round pick. Freeman’s agent, Erik Burkhardt, has taken to Twitter to voice his latest frustration with the situation, which includes the disclosure several days ago that Freeman was in the NFL’s substance abuse program. Freeman subsequently acknowledged he takes the prescription drug Adderall to deal with attention deficit disorder.
“AND ... Another breach of personal & confidential employee information: releasing info of alleged team violations w associated fines,” Burkhardt tweeted.
Freeman was reportedly fined for missing and/or being late to team meetings, and conducting an unauthorized interview with ESPN last week, in which he expressed a desire to be traded.
The best the team and Freeman can hope for is that they can find a trading partner. But with the 31 other teams obviously aware that Freeman is available, the offering price might not be much more than a ham & cheese sandwich, no less a draft pick. Even a low draft pick.
Absent a quarterback injury from a contending team – and even then, it might be a stretch – it looks like the two are stuck with one another. Unless the Bucs want to cut bait entirely and simply release him.
But that’s not without consequences either. If the Bucs release Freeman, they would not be entitled to a compensatory draft pick down the road once Freeman signs with another club.
And so, the mess continues ...