Josh Freeman may have played his last game for Greg Schiano's Buccaneers. (Phelan M. Ebenhack, AP)
Josh Freeman lost his starting job in Tampa Bay earlier this week. Now, he might not even have a spot on the active roster.
The Buccaneers may scratch Freeman from the lineup for Sunday's game with Arizona, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reported. If that's the decision, Dan Orlovsky would back up rookie starter Mike Glennon.
According to both Stroud and Bucs insider Jenna Laine, the catalyst behind Freeman's latest potential demotion may have been an interview Freeman conducted with ESPN on Thursday, which Laine reported "wasn't authorized by the Bucs".
"You know, I don't [want to be traded] for a number of reasons," Freeman told ESPN's Josina Anderson. "But the bottom line is, if you want things to change, something has got to change. At the end of the day, yes, I think that moving forward, that might be, that is going to be probably the best option."
Freeman had declined to speak with Tampa media either Wednesday or Thursday, following the earlier announcement by Bucs head coach Greg Schiano that Glennon would take over as the team's No. 1 QB. His decision to lobby for a trade via ESPN may have been the final straw in his Tampa Bay tenure.
"The first thing you do is, his advisors ought to tell him that you need to concentrate on just being a QB and not having interviews, not saying you want to be traded," ESPN's Herm Edwards said in response to Freeman's comments. "Big mistake in my opinion."
Schiano would not confirm (or deny) Freeman's reported status for Sunday, saying only that he would announce the team's inactives "90 minutes before [kickoff], as is mandated by league rules.
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports speculated this week that the Vikings might consider trying to trade for Freeman. "Frustration's mounting," said La Canfora of the 0-3 Vikings, who will start Matt Cassel in place of an injured Christian Ponder against Pittsburgh this week.
The Vikings then have a bye in Week 5 due to playing in London on Sunday, so the timing may be right for a deal.
However, it's unlikely Minnesota -- or any franchise -- would pony up very much for Freeman, who has begun burning bridges in Tampa Bay. Freeman has a base salary of $8.43 million this season and will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year. So for the Bucs to move him, they may either have to cut him and bite the bullet on his contract or offer to pick up the majority of that remaining money, likely in exchange for some sort of conditional draft pick.
Regardless, Freeman's days with the Buccaneers are pretty clearly numbered, with this latest news just pushing him closer to an unceremonious exit.