The Bucs' contentious relationship with quarterback Josh Freeman finally came to an end on Thursday morning, when the team released Freeman after trying to trade him for over a week. His career in Tampa Bay had been a roller coaster. In his second season, and his first as a full-time starter, he threw for 25 touchdowns, just six interceptions, 3,451 yards and guided the Bucs to a 10-6 record. That was followed by a 4-12 down year in 2011. But Freeman seemingly regained his mojo in 2012, throwing for more than 4,000 yards, with 27 TDs and 17 interceptions. Yet after a 0-3 start to 2013, coach Greg Schiano (who had reportedly clashed with Freeman before) benched his QB. Freeman is still only 25, so it's possible that he simply needs a change of scenery. The same can't be said for the rest of the guys in this gallery.
2 of 21Anthony J. Causi/Icon SMI
Sanchez experienced some immediate pro success, playing in AFC Championship games in each of his first two seasons with the Jets. Since then, the team has struggled and fan support for Sanchez has all but disappeared. After he injured his shoulder in the 2013 preseason, the Jets turned the ball over to rookie Geno Smith, making it likely that Sanchez has started his last game in New York. Although his teams have done well, Sanchez himself has played poorly, throwing fewer touchdowns (68) than interceptions (69) and completing a paltry 55.1% of his passes.
3 of 21John W. McDonough/SI
Despite possessing the superb arm strength and prototypical size of a budding NFL superstar, JaMarcus Russell fizzled in Oakland after three seasons, over which the LSU product threw for 23 interceptions and only 18 touchdowns. After Russell was reported to have shown up to training camp in March 2010 weighing close to 300 pounds, the Raiders traded for veteran QB Jason Campbell and cut Russell the first week of May. He joins a woeful group of high-draft pick gunslingers who never turned potential into production.
4 of 21Tony Medina/Icon SMI
Among first-round quarterback busts, Young may be the most accomplished. In college, he led Texas to a national championship and finished second to Reggie Bush in the 2005 Heisman voting. In the NFL, Young actually made two Pro Bowls (2006 and 2009) and guided his teams to a 31-19 record overall. But he struggled mightily with his accuracy in Tennessee, throwing 46 TDs against 51 interceptions and completing just 57.9% of his passes for his career. After an altercation with coach Jeff Fisher in 2010, the Titans cut Young. He started three games for the Eagles in 2011, but has failed to make a roster out of training camp since.
5 of 21Paul Sakuma/AP
Arizona drafted Leinart 10th overall in 2006, after he had one of the most illustrious college careers of all time. Leinart won the Heisman Trophy, two national championships and had a 35-game winning streak at USC, making him seem like a perennial Pro Bowl lock. Instead, Leinart struggled to earn playing time for the Cardinals, and started just 17 games in four seasons with the team, throwing 14 touchdowns against 20 interceptions in that span. In 2011 with the Texans, he looked effective after starter Matt Schaub got injured, but Leinart only made it one half before getting injured himself. He served as a backup in Oakland in 2012 and was cut by Buffalo at the end of the 2013 regular season.
6 of 21Mark Cowan/Icon SMI
The Jaguars drafted Leftwich seventh overall out of Marshall in 2003. In college, he had been a wickedly efficient, high-volume passer, throwing for more than eight yards per attempts with a completion percentage above 67% in each of his last two seasons. In the pros, he could never stay healthy. He never made it through an entire season, and only started more than 10 games in a year three times. After being cut by Jacksonville, Leftwich bounced around the league, playing briefly for Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh a second time. In 2012, Leftwich took over for an injured Ben Roethlisberger, led the Steelers to an overtime win over the Chiefs... and promptly got hurt.
7 of 21Al Tielemans/SI
The 6-foot-3, 215 pound, laser-armed prodigy out of Fresno State was all set to lead the Texans as the first draft pick in franchise history. In his rookie season, he started all 16 games and posted a miserable 62.8 quarterback rating while being sacked an NFL record 76 times. He spent much of the next four seasons on his back, and eventually was released in 2006 because no team would trade for him.
8 of 21Todd Rosenberg/Icon SMI
Harrington kicked off a decade of mostly terrible first-round picks for the Lions. Detroit selected him third overall out of Oregon in 2002, hoping for some of the magic he used to guide his college teams to a 25-3 record and become a Heisman finalist. He brought none. Instead, he threw 62 interceptions against 60 touchdowns, never completed more than 57% of his passes and went 18-37 as a starter. Harrington also had brief stints with the Dolphins and Falcons before he hung up his cleats for good.
9 of 21Bob Rosato/SI
With the No. 1 pick, the Browns had their choice of two of what would become the biggest quarterback busts of all time, Tim Couch and Akili Smith. While Heisman trophy finalist Couch made 62 starts with the Browns in comparison to Smith's 17 with the Bengals, his numbers were entirely mediocre. Couch threw for a miserable 11,571 yards, 64 touchdowns and 67 interceptions in five injury-plagued seasons. After being released at the end of the 2003 season, he attempted several comebacks but failed in each of them. His decline culminated when he tested positive for steroids and HGH in August 2007.
10 of 21David Liam Kyle/SI
Smith emerged after one good season at Oregon and almost went No. 1 over Tim Couch and Donovan McNabb. But Smith was destined to be a bust from the beginning. Not only was he selected by the Bengals -- a reliable indicator of future flops -- but also he was coached by QB guru Jeff Tedford in college. Tedford-coached quarterbacks -- Trent Dilfer, Joey Harrington and Kyle Boller -- didn't have much NFL success.
11 of 21Jonathan Daniel/SI
This southpaw posted huge numbers at UCLA and was supposed to be the Bears' answer at QB. But in two years he started 15 games, throwing 16 TDs and 19 interceptions. His lack of accuracy, poor decision-making and an attitude that reminded many of Ryan Leaf limited his career in Chicago.
12 of 21Patrick Murphy-Racey/SI
The one-time Washington State star redefined the term "bust" in his brief NFL career. He wasn't a No. 1 overall -- the Colts chose Peyton Manning -- but his spectacular decline destroyed the Chargers, who traded up with Arizona to select Leaf. In 18 starts, Leaf finished 4-14 with a 48.8 passer rating. His misadventures on the field were relatively pleasant compared to his locker-room tirades. Leaf alienated the media, teammates, water boys ... anyone unlucky enough to get in his path before he retired in 2002.
13 of 21Simon Bruty/SI
Shuler displayed all the tools at Tennessee, but he never understood the nuances of an NFL offense while in Washington. Shuler played 19 lackluster games in three seasons with Washington before being displaced by Gus Frerotte. Shuler was traded to the Saints, where he lasted one year.
14 of 21Brad Mangin/SI
After observing Mirer at Notre Dame, Bill Walsh called him the second-coming of Joe Montana. Mirer wasn't even the second coming of Joe Pisarcik. The Seahawks took Mirer after Drew Bledsoe, and in four seasons Mirer tossed 41 TDs and 56 INTs. Mirer has the distinction of being a huge bust for two teams. The Bears traded a first-round pick to Seattle for Mirer in 1997. He never won Chicago's starting job.
15 of 21John Iacono/SI
At the University of Houston, Klingler threw 54 TDs in a season and six TDs in a quarter. He threw 16 TDs in four whole seasons with the Bengals -- compared with 21 interceptions. Klingler replaced the very popular Boomer Esiason, and after getting sacked 10 times by the Steelers in his first start, he spent most of his Cincy career on the turf.
16 of 21Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Ware rewrote the college record books at Houston and won the Heisman Trophy, but he barely got off the bench in the NFL. Like many other busts, he held out before his rookie season and never was able to get it going with the Lions. In four seasons he completed just 83 passes for five TDs. Ware has the unique distinction of also being a major flop in the CFL, where he won a championship backing up Doug Flutie.
17 of 21Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
The Cardinals made Stouffer a top-10 pick in 1987, but Stouffer and the team couldn't agree on a contract, so the rookie QB held out the entire season, before his rights were traded to the Seahawks. But for all the hassle, Stouffer never delivered. In four years with Seattle, he never started more than seven games in a season, and totaled just seven touchdowns and 19 interceptions in his short-lived career.
18 of 21Corky Charles Trewin/NFL
Consider this: in the 1983 NFL Draft, Blackledge was the second quarterback selected, behind only the No. 1 pick, John Elway. After Blackledge went to the Chiefs at No. 7, four other quarterbacks were drafted in the first round: Jim Kelly, Tony Eason, Ken O'Brien and Dan Marino. Three of those first-rounders went on to have Hall of Fame careers, and four reached at least one Super Bowl. Blackledge, however, never started more than eight games in a season for the Chiefs before ending his career as a backup with the Steelers.
19 of 21Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
Schlichter started just six games over three seasons with the Colts, finishing his career with three touchdowns and 11 interceptions. But what really derailed his career was his gambling addiction. Schlichter was said to have blown his signing bonus midway through his rookie season, and even bet on NFL games. A series of suspensions, coupled with growing gambling debt, pushed the former top-five pick out of pro football.
20 of 21AP
Nicknamed "The Throwin' Samoan" in his college days at Washington State, Thompson went third overall to the Bengals but played sparingly behind starter Ken Anderson. In four seasons with Cincinnati, Thompson started just five games, but threw 19 interceptions. Even when he was given the starting job after a trade to Tampa Bay in 1983, Thompson struggled to make an impact. He finished his career with a 4-17 record as a starter.
21 of 21Vernon Biever/NFL
Tagge played on national championship Nebraska teams in 1970 and 1971 before joining the Packers. But Tagge was no match for NFL defenses, as he passed for just three touchdowns (and 17 interceptions) over three seasons. Years later, Tagge was named an All-Star of the Canadian Football League, but he could never shed the "bust" label.
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