Tampa Bay Bucs reportedly won't extend Freeman

By Kevin Patra
Updated: Jan. 7, 2013 at 07:40 a.m.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers do not plan on extending quarterback Josh Freeman's contract this offseason, reports Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.

The four-year pro will play out his rookie contract in the 2013 season as the team determines if he is its quarterback of the future.

Freeman set franchise records for passing yards (4,065) and touchdowns (27) in 2012, but was wildly inconsistent. He showed flashes of brilliance in the Bucs' 6-4 start that had them in the playoff discussion, but his play disintegrated down the stretch, including two four-interception disasters, as the team went 1-5.

The proverbial lame-duck quarterback was drafted before coach Greg Schiano took over, so there is no inherent loyalty involved. The Bucs also want to avoid a crippling financial mistake a la the New York Jets' $40 million contract extension for quarterback Mark Sanchez.

If Freeman's inconsistency continues to outweigh his athleticism and the positives he brings to the game, the Bucs can move on without repercussion. If he rights the ship, they can either sign him to a new contract or place the franciche tag on him next offseason.