Should Cleveland Browns Pursue Josh Freeman?

By Dick Primo
Josh Freeman
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers released their on-again, off-again star Josh Freeman after they reportedly couldn’t find trade partners. Too bad for them that it came before the Cleveland Browns played on Thursday Night Football.

Since Cleveland fans are always looking for a football savior, there was some talk that the Browns should go for Freeman.

But why? They already have a small competition mess between new starter Brian Hoyer, and old starter Brandon Weeden, who lost his job to an injury. Though everyone seemed to know that Hoyer would be the starter, head coach Rob Chudzinski was able to dodge the issue because of the injury. But this would be the last week he’d be able to do that.

Adding Freeman would only muddy the waters more, something that the fans don’t really need or want. Personally, I wanted nothing to do with Freeman. If he was so good, there’d be no doubt that he should be the starter in Tampa. And not only was he not, and not only did he get outright released, but the team couldn’t find a trade partner.

Maybe it was because NFL GMs are shrewd enough to guess that the Bucs would release him, but do you think if Eli Manning became available that GMs would sit and hope no one else would make a trade?

Plus, the Browns had just started winning and just started scoring. Why make a mess of things by adding a third “should he be the starter” guy to the mix? Leave it alone. They have something good going in Hoyer. And then Hoyer was out of the equation, at least for one night.

Scrambling for a first down on Thursday night, Hoyer hit the ground with his legs bent awkwardly beneath him and a Buffalo Bills player on top of him. Sprained knee, possibly torn ligaments. Though the Browns went on to win the game, coming back three times in the process, it looks like Weeden could be the starter for the near future. I don’t think anyone wants that.

Suddenly, the Freeman signing doesn’t seem so bad. Of course, it all rests on how extensive the injury to Hoyer’s knee really is. But if he’s going to be out 4-6 weeks, do the Browns go after Freeman? He may not be a franchise guy, but wouldn’t he be a better option than Weeden? I don’t think so. Here’s why.

Freeman would be joining the team without an offseason to learn the schemes. I know fans think it’s as simple as dropping back and throwing, but it’s not. The beloved Hoyer faced the same circumstance last season when he was cut late in camp and was then bounced around between 47 different teams. Now he’s Cleveland’s 2013 football savior.

Freeman has talent, no doubt about it. But it’s not consistent talent, as his performance bounces from year to year. He’d be a nice addition to another team that would like to get him and keep him beyond 2013. Maybe there is no chance to get one in the draft and a team feels Freeman may be able to make it work for them for a year or two. That’s when they should go after him.

The only reasons I see for the Browns to sign him are: one, the Browns could very well be that team who drafts too high to get a stud quarterback in the 2014 draft; two, Freeman gets a lot of comparisons to Cam Newton, who Chudzinski had success with for the Carolina Panthers.

But I still say no. Let someone else ‘win” the Josh Freeman Sweepstakes. Even if it means having Weeden as Cleveland’s starting quarterback.

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