At one point during the offseason, there was a lot of talk about Oakland Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie possibly bringing in Josh Freeman to help stabilize the team’s shaky quarterbacking situation.
At the time, signing Freeman made sense – he’s a QB with talent and some upside, plus he is familiar with OC Greg Olson‘s schemes from their time together with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Freeman enjoyed his best years as a pro under Olson. But, for whatever reason, a deal never materialized and Freeman signed with the New York Giants. Now, just six weeks later, Freeman has been cut and there is talk once again that he’ll find a landing spot in Oakland.
Aside from it being a pretty baseless rumor to begin with, it’s about as likely to happen as McKenzie trading to get Terrelle Pryor back to be the starter again.
Having traded a draft pick for Houston Texans castoff Matt Schaub, and using an early second-round pick on Derek Carr, as well as having second year QB Matt McGloin on the roster, Oakland’s quarterbacking situation is more stable now than it has been since Rich Gannon wore the Silver and Black. And with both Carr and McGloin learning under Schaub, the future of the team is looking brighter than it has in quite some time.
So why would McKenzie tamper with what looks like a good thing going forward by bringing in Freeman? The short answer is, he wouldn’t. Bringing Freeman in at this point would serve no purpose and makes absolutely zero sense.
All of this is not to say that Freeman isn’t a decent quarterback and wouldn’t have done well in Oakland. In Olson’s offense down in Tampa, he showed flashes of how good he can be and after a 2010 season that saw him throw for almost 3,500 yards with 25 touchdowns against just six interceptions, he was thought to be a cornerstone of the franchise. But a couple of down years following that season led to his departure.
And since then, stories about his poor work ethic and inability to grasp complex offensive schemes have followed him every step of the way.
After his 2013 stint with the Minnesota Vikings, an anonymous player told a reporter from USA Today that Freeman was frequently late for meetings and was usually one of the last players to arrive at the team facility. The anonymous source was quoted as saying, “You could tell that Josh did not know the offense.”
And just before his recent release by the Giants, NJ.com reported that Freeman was pulled from a practice session and was replaced by fellow backup Curtis Painter after lining up the offensive unit incorrectly.
In all fairness to Freeman, he was never in either place – Minnesota or New York – long enough to be able to really grasp the nuances of their offensive schemes. And in Minnesota especially, throwing him to the wolves like they did, it would be unreasonable to think Freeman – or anybody else for that matter – could have been successful in that situation.
Still, the idea that Freeman is unwilling – or unable – to put in the time and effort required to learn every facet of an offensive system continues to dog him.
It’s unfortunate. Despite the fact that he’s proven that he can be a capable starter and have some success in the league, Freeman’s career seems to be continuing in a downward trajectory. Though, in a quarterback-needy league, he will likely get another shot somewhere.
But that place won’t be in Oakland. The Raiders are set at quarterback now and for the foreseeable future. Regardless of what the rumor mill might say.