Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman was drafted out of Kansas State to be Tampa Bay’s franchise quarterback. Entering the last year of his rookie contract, many opinions have varied on whether the team should extend the 25-year old beyond 2013.
A few weeks back, Freeman changed agents and is now represented by Select Sports Group. It was later reported by Pro Football Talk that Freeman’s new reps were hoping to meet with the Bucs on the quarterback’s future. Today, agent Erik Burkhardt confirmed to me that both sides have in fact met.
“We did meet and talks were very productive,” Burkhardt said. “The Bucs are a huge believer in Josh and Josh is a huge believer in coach Schiano and Mark Dominik.”
Why not? Dominik drafted Freeman in 2009 to be the face of the Buccaneers for the long haul. Schiano came in last year and didn’t immediately replace Freeman but instead chose to hire offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan to help coach him. The mutual respect on both sides is there and reports (rumors) of the organization not being fond of Freeman may not be true after all.
Burkhardt confirmed those words did not come from them nor his client. Granted his words are subject to one’s own opinions but if the Buccaneers truly wanted nothing to do with Freeman, they would have already found a way and talks would not have been positive.
But the Bucs may be rolling the dice on not extending Freeman before the season starts. We have seen the amount of money teams have signed their quarterbacks for after they have a great season. Then due to those contracts, would later have salary cap issues or have been forced to let other big name players go. So is either side eager on completing a deal as soon as possible?
“There’s always a sense of urgency to get a deal done,” Burkhardt said when asked. “But we’re not uncomfortable where we currently are.”
Freeman is coming off of his best year out of college. He broke the team’s single season record for passing yards (4,065) as well as most touchdown passes (27) in 2012. While he may have had run-ins with inconsistency (and who doesn’t), his leadership and his overall performance warrants an extension.
And one may be on the horizon judging by what Burkhardt said as we ended our conversation:
“I want to say that everything is positive from our end and the Bucs have shown us they are willing to get a deal done.”