With reporting day, upon the Buccaneers the clock has struck midnight.
Reports WERE flying Thursday morning that a deal was struck with Josh Freeman, it now looks like there was a hangup in negotiations. Gil Brandt, longtime NFL personnel man for the Dallas Cowboys and NFL.com analyst chimes in on the subject in an interview with Clifton Brown, of The Sporting News.
The ramifications of a holdout by any rookie, let alone a quarterback seriously jeopardizes the development and growth in year one.
“Any player who misses more than three days of camp is taking a serious risk,” said Gil Brandt, long-time personnel director for the Cowboys who now is an analyst with NFL.com. “What rookies see at OTAs and minicamps doesn’t compare to what they see at training camp. Everything is accelerated 100 percent.
“Historically, rookie holdouts have a hard time playing well and they often suffer injuries after they show up.”
With no deal imminent at this point, one has to wonder where the breakdown occurred in negotiations, between Freeman’s representative Tom Condon and the Bucs. In the Behind the Flag segment on Buccaneers.com, head coach Raheem Morris did not sound confident that Freeman would be available on the first day of training camp.
“I’m confident that Mark will get it done at some point. Whenever that is, he’ll let me know.”
Josh Freeman, QB, Buccaneers. Talented but raw, Freeman is locked in a three-way battle with Byron Leftwich and Luke McCown for the starting job. Despite the success of Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco last season, no position is more demanding for rookies than quarterback.
“Knowing Josh and his family, I know how important they think it is for him to get to camp,” Brandt said.
Unless Freeman simply blows away the competition in camp, either McCown or Leftwich likely will get the nod in Week 1. Still, there is no way Freeman can win the battle until he enters the fight.
The longer this drags on, the less Freeman will have at battling in camp, which would cause his rookie season to be a wash. If competition is what the Bucs are after. Ensuring Freeman is at the first practice is paramount.
“Unless Freeman wins the quarterback job outright, he should not start. This is a different situation than Detroit. Tampa Bay is in a winnable division, so the best quarterback should play.” — ESPN analyst Mike Golic
For Freeman to win any job outright the first step is getting into camp. It would appear however the the Bucs are playing hardball and have dug in with respect to what hey are willing to payout in guaranteed money.