appears to have fallen out of favor with head coach Greg Schiano. (Rich Graessle/Icon SMI)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' QB situation appears to be nearing an ugly conclusion, with a CBSSports' Jason La Canfora reporting Sunday that current starter Josh Freeman "is likely" to ask for a trade in the near future. The NFL's trade deadline is on Oct. 29.
The relationship between Josh Freeman and coach Greg Schiano seemed to take a couple more steps in the wrong direction this week. Schiano revealed that Freeman overslept and missed a team meeting, with a separate report from the Tampa Bay Times stating that Freeman had earlier missed a team photo. That error on Freeman's part came shortly after he lost the team captaincy that he held from 2010-12.
La Canfora added, though, that Tampa Bay's issues may go beyond the Freeman-Schiano dynamic.
Furthermore, several executives on other clubs believe Schiano's refusal to ever really endorse Freeman is an attempt to undermine general manager Mark Dominik, who drafted Freeman in the first round prior to Schiano's arrival from Rutgers and who has also worked diligently to add talent to that roster in recent years. Many around the league believe Schiano would like to have full roster control as well, viewing Freeman -- who threw for over 4,000 yards and nearly 30 touchdowns last year -- as a pawn in a would-be power struggle.
Schiano was front and center on the Bucs' decision to spend a third-round pick in April on Mike Glennon. The North Carolina State product is inching closer to the Tampa Bay starting job by the day, and would likely inherit it if Freeman was moved.
Finding a trade suitor for Freeman could prove difficult for the Buccaneers should they explore that option. Freeman's impending free-agent status (he is set to hit the market after 2013) and a loaded 2014 draft class would make trading for a QB a tough sell.
Jacksonville stands out as the most obvious landing spot, as the Jaguars try to make do with a Blaine Gabbert-Chad Henne combo. But throwing in the towel on an underachieving Gabbert in favor of the inconsistent Freeman hardly feels like a substantial upgrade, even if Freeman has shown more flashes of potential than Gabbert during their NFL careers.
If Freeman does indeed ask for a trade, it would not be hard to understand why. The last thing he would want is to hit free agency after being benched for Glennon and labeled as the cause of a Tampa Bay regression in 2013.
This whole situation could change if Freeman and the Buccaneers get hot in the coming weeks. That possibility is more and more unlikely as the tension grows between Freeman and Schiano.
(Update: Freeman denied after the Bucs' win over New Orleans on Sunday that he has asked for a trade, according to Pewter Report. "If its going behind the scenes I need a new camp," Freeman said. "I'm focused on being a Buccaneer.")