CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason LaCanfora is reporting that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have officially put an end to the Josh Freeman saga that has been a black eye on the organization for weeks by giving the benched QB his outright release.
The team had been trying to find a trade partner for the disgruntled fifth-year quarterback, all the while dealing with a public war of words with Freeman and his agent over alleged leaks to the media of confidential information, such as Freeman’s participation in the NFL’s Substance Abuse Program and fines levied against Freeman by the team for detrimental conduct.
Media analysts, including LaCanfora, had been speculating that the release would come sooner rather than later. If it didn’t, then the Bucs would essentially be paying Freeman to be an inactive player on their roster, as he was last week during the Bucs 13-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. This way, they’re paying him to be gone from the team entirely, but they’re still paying him the remainder of his $8.6 million salary for 2013.
Freeman’s release will not likely have any impact on the NFL Players Association investigation of the Bucs organization for whoever might have leaked confidential medical information about Freeman to the press over the past week. Bucs Head Coach Greg Schiano has flatly denied any involvement in leaking that information, but his denials have been greeted with skepticism, considering his damaged relationship with his former starting QB and other reports coming out of One Buc Place this week suggesting that the coach’s heavy-handed methods of policing his players’ behavior have alienated the majority of his veteran players and created an atmosphere of distrust in the Bucs’ locker room.
UPDATE: Mark Dominik made the following statement regarding the release of their veteran QB – “We made the decision today to release Josh Freeman. We appreciate his efforts over the past five seasons, but we felt this was in the best interests of both Josh and the Buccaneers.”