Now Is The Time To Re-Sign Josh FreemanDecember 24th, 2012
Look, Joe knows Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman has few friends this Christmas Eve after throwing eight picks in the past two games and melting down more and more each week right when the Bucs needed him most.
Joe had a chance to walk on the field of the Stadium on Dale Mabry Highway just as the final seconds were ticking off to the ugly loss to the Rams. There were two images that struck Joe the most.
1) Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik looked like a beaten man. Normally affable and walking with a smile if not perfect posture, Dominik walked to the Bucs locker room slumped over, head down as if he had just been put through a wringer.
2) Fans’ reaction to Freeman: There were untold dozens of fans in the stands as the game ended. Unlike last year at this time when the crowd was livid if not vile at the entire Bucs team. This was different. When various Bucs players walked off the field, fans clapped for them, asked for an autograph, a towel, a wristband, et al. But when Freeman appeared, that mood quickly switched to hostile, angry. Joe heard someone yell “Freeman!” and a loud chorus of boos erupted along with fans shouting all sorts of foul things to the Bucs quarterback. It was stunning to Joe.
This town, by and large, has turned on Freeman in just a handful of days and turned on him big time.
But while Dominik looked drained and Freeman was mercilessly heckled, this is the perfect time for those two to come together in their moment of need.
Yes, this is the perfect opportunity to sign Freeman to an extention.
Right now the Bucs have massive leverage on Freeman the way he has folded in recent weeks. Currently, he has little bargaining power with Dominik.
The Bucs’ front office leader could try to re-up Freeman to a very team-friendly contract, loaded with incentive-based clauses, where if Freeman cannot turn the corner, the Bucs could wash their hands of him with limited financial repercussions.
If Freeman is able to right his ship, with a heavily-laced incentive-based contract, he makes out good and positions himself for a massive pay increase in, say, 2015, and the Bucs get to keep their quarterback.
It buys both parties time. It’s a win-win.
Joe knows Dominik doesn’t want to let Freeman walk. He is linked to Freeman as that was his first — and primary — draft pick.
It’s the smart thing to do for the Bucs, both short-term and perhaps long-term. Re-sign Freeman in the coming weeks.