10 years ago, the Tampa Bay Bucs were approaching the NFL draft with 2 concerns.
The first being, what would new head coach Raheem Morris do in the draft. Followed closely by how were the Buccaneers going to resolve the QB issue.
In the past few seasons, Bucs fans had seen a procession of past their best or never achieved their potential. Chris Simms, Jeff Garcia, Byron Leftwich, and Josh Johnson. Play at the quarterback position largely underwhelmed since Brad Johnson became the only Tampa QB to loft the Lombardi up high.
Both questions were answered when Josh Freeman was selected with the 17th overall pick. The former Kansas State Wildcat was seen as a player with great potential but would need developing. Having the arm strength to make all the throws, but sometimes forcing plays.
Freeman would sit behind and develop until the Bucs traveled to London. In a blowout game against the Patriots, Freeman would come off the bench to play his first snaps. As an aside, I was at this game and was impressed with what I saw.
Fans and coaches were in agreement as the Buccaneers started Freeman against the Packers in that year’s throwback game. The Bucs would win and Freeman would start 9 games in that season.
Fast forward to the next year and things took off. 2010 saw the Buccaneers finally find that elusive franchise QB. The 6’6″ signal-caller became a dual threat as well as posting an astonishing 25:6 TD INT ratio. That year the Buccaneers were “Youngry” and narrowly missed the playoffs after a 10-6 season. The Bay Area was in love with Freeman and Morris.
That honeymoon would not last. As Freeman’s play plummeted, so did the Bucs. Posting a 16:22 ratio in a season that many NFL analysts predicted, Josh Freeman to be a dark horse for NFL MVP. 2012 picked up slightly, but never near the dizzying heights of 2010.
As 2013 arrived in Tampa Freeman and Greg Schiano relationship soured, both parties seemed to want little to do with each other. Freeman would eventually be cut in favour of new QB Mike Glennon.
The stars that shine brightest often burn out quicker.
Freeman left the Bay Area holding many franchise records for a QB and still holds some of those to this day.
After being released, Freeman was not on the market long, being picked up by the Minnesota Vikings. Starting against the New York Giants, Freeman had a terrible night along with suffering a concussion that lingered. Freeman would not play again for the Vikings.
The veteran QB bounced around the league, including Miami, New York, and Indianapolis never sticking to a roster. This period also included a spell at Brooklyn in the experimental fall league.
Shortly before turning 30, Freeman would sign with the Montreal Alouettes; however, this would be the final contract signed by Freeman.
On May 26th, 2018, Josh Freeman retired from football.
If anything could be said about his career it would be “what if?”