Not much was expected from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season with the consensus being this team was still picking up the pieces and trying to build a playoff contender in the NFC.
Quarterback Josh Freeman has been a solid piece to build around in Tampa Bay, but he’s been streaky at best during his time with the Bucs and hasn’t exactly instilled confidence within the team’s front office that he’s the long-term option at quarterback.
Heading into the off-season after missing the playoffs yet again, the Bucs were thought to start discussing with Freeman in terms of a lucrative contract extension. Although Freeman put up decent numbers this season with 4,095 yards, 27 touchdowns and 17 interceptions finishing with a passer rating of 81.6, the Bucs organization still isn’t convinced that Freeman is the right man under center and therefore is willing to let the soon-to-be 25-year-old play out his rookie contract next season rather than extending him long-term prematurely according to Rick Stroud of Tampa Bay Times:
The Bucs will not discuss extending Josh Freeman’s contract in the off-season. That means his rookie deal will expire after 2013. If he plays great, the team will use its franchise tag on Freeman and try to sign him to a long-term deal. The exclusive-rights franchise tender for a quarterback would likely be more than $17 million for one year.
It appears that Freeman will have to prove his worth to the team next season. A potentially smart move by the Bucs with Freeman showing signs of brilliance during the 2012 season, but also continuing to be very streaky at times leaving most unsatisfied with what the Kansas State product brings to the table.
Although Freeman’s future remains uncertain after the 2013 season, the Bucs appear to be a team on the rise in the NFL with acquisition of Vincent Jackson paying off and rookie running back Doug Martin becoming a star right out of the gate for Tampa Bay. The future may be bright for the Bucs, but it remains unclear whether or not Freeman will be apart of the equation after next season.