The expected has happened with Josh Freeman: Today the Tampa Bay Buccaneers cut ties with their former would-be franchise quarterback after failing to find a trade partner. As a vested veteran Freeman is not required to go through waivers and may sign with any team.
Surely a player of Freeman’s talent will draw interest from multiple teams. But will the Vikings be one of those teams? A better question: SHOULD the Vikings be one of those teams?
That subject was brought up Wednesday by Derek Wetmore of 1500ESPN.com, sort of as a nice juicy piece of red meat for fans. But now that Freeman is actually on the market, the idle bye week speculation has ramped up into all-out heated name-calling debate. Just after spending a few hours on Twitter, it seems to me that a lot of fans are coming down on the side of signing Freeman. These seem to be the main arguments in favor of picking up Freeman:
1. Christian Ponder stinks.
2. Josh Freeman had one good year once.
3. Matt Cassel had one good year once too but he isn’t as good as Josh Freeman.
4. Christian Ponder stinks.
5. If Freeman can fix whatever has made him not be very good since that one good year he had, he would be better than Ponder or Cassel. Never mind the fact that Bill Musgrave is apparently not that good at helping QBs.
6. Christian Ponder stinks.
And now a quick rebuttal by those of us who are not entirely convinced that it makes any sense to sign Josh Freeman at this time.
1. Josh Freeman clashed with his coaches in a way that is very reminiscent of what happened with Percy Harvin. Freeman’s issues created tremendous headaches for everyone and Freeman, like Harvin, was ultimately dumped. Do we really need to bring in another malcontent trouble-making d-bag, especially when our locker room already looks like it’s ready to implode? And I know what you’re thinking: It wasn’t Freeman, it was Greg Schiano. Or maybe Freeman and Schiano were BOTH jerks.
2. Josh Freeman really isn’t that much better than Ponder or Cassel overall. He had that one good year.
3. I’m not certain the Vikings are very good at handling quarterbacks. So why would they handle Freeman any better than they handled Ponder? Freeman clearly needs some work. I’m not sure this coaching staff is the one to get him back to where he needs to be.
4. If you’re trying to turn the season around, is it really going to help to bring in a guy who doesn’t know your offense at all?
5. One of the big knocks on Ponder has been lack of leadership. Is Josh Freeman a guy with a great reputation for leadership?
6. I thought all us fans were sick of picking up other people’s cast-off quarterbacks?
7. Didn’t Cassel play pretty well the last game? Yes I know he’s inconsistent, but is Josh Freeman himself the picture of consistency?
8. Didn’t Ponder show some nice flashes in the Chicago and Cleveland games? Didn’t he bounce back well after that terrible pick against the Bears? Wasn’t he starting to get it a little bit more before his injury? We’ve invested all this time in him, not to mention that draft pick, and we’re just supposed to toss all that out the window because some guy comes along who had a good year a few years ago?
That’s all I’ve got on why I don’t like the idea of signing Freeman. The whole “you’ve got nothing to lose” thing doesn’t fly with me. You’ve got a starter who has shown flashes of improvement and is now injured and you have a capable backup. Signing Josh Freeman is going to get you into the Super Bowl this year? Josh Freeman is a better long-term answer than Christian Ponder? Or do people hate Ponder so much that they just want to get rid of him any way they can?
Things to think about during our boring bye week.