Bucs will make Josh Freeman play out his rookie contract

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are not going to pursue a new contract for quarterback Josh Freeman this offseason and hope that they are put in the tough spot of needed to get a deal done with him in a year.

Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Bucs have made the decision, and it makes good sense to us, to let Freeman play out his rookie contract in 2013. Freeman has been up and down throughout his career and hasn’t done what it takes to convince a team to take the plunge with him.

If Freeman has a great season, the Bucs could be faced with the unpleasant prospect of placing the franchise tag on Freeman in 2014. But that’s a far better option than signing the quarterback to a contract the club regrets for multiple seasons to come.

Had the New York Jets been planning properly, they would have done the same thing with Mark Sanchez instead of saddling themselves with a bad quarterback and bad contract. There is a gamble either way for the Bucs but this option puts pressure on Freeman to perform. If he can’t, he’s not the quarterback the Bucs are going to want to build around into the future.

Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs

Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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