Josh Freeman

Veteran QB Josh Freeman Retires

Josh Freeman is calling it quits. The veteran quarterback, who was playing for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League, told Montreal coaches on Saturday morning that he is going to retire (via CFL.ca). Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times confirmed that Freeman is indeed hanging up the spikes.

“We would like to thank Josh for his work and dedication. He was a consummate professional throughout camp,” said Montreal general manager Kavis Reed. “We respect his decision and we wish him the best in the future.”

That makes it sound as if Freeman retired of his own accord, but in reality, he may have been forced into the decision. Per Florida Football Insiders (citing Joey Alfieri of TSN690), the Alouettes had already decided to release Freeman before he decided to call it a career.

The 2009 first-round pick had several productive seasons in Tampa Bay, starting all but one regular season game between 2010 and 2012. One of his best campaigns came in 2012, when he completed 54.8-percent of his passes for 4,065 yards, 27 touchdowns, and 17 interceptions. He also proved to be a solid runner during his NFL career, compiling 946 rushing yards on 205 carries. Freeman’s tenure in Tampa Bay didn’t end on the best of terms, and he ended up bouncing between the Vikings, Giants, Dolphins, and Colts.

After having not played in the NFL since 2015, Freeman got a workout with the Alouettes last year. He ended up signing a two-year deal with the organization back in January.

We here at PFR wish Freeman the best in the next stage of his life.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Josh Freeman Signs With Montreal Alouettes

Johnny Manziel isn’t the only former first-round quarterback looking to make a move north of the border. While the former Browns signal-caller’s CFL future is still in limbo, former Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman is definitely headed to Canada after he signed a two-year deal with the Montreal Alouettes on Friday. Josh Freeman (vertical)

Freeman has not played a snap in the NFL since 2015 and was last released by the Colts in the 2016 offseason. He formerly had a tryout with Montreal in 2016 but did not end up signing with the CFL side. After sitting out the 2016 and 2017 seasons, Freeman is set for a return and will presumably slot in as the team’s starter.

The No. 17 pick in the 2009 NFL Draft spent parts of four seasons as the Buccaneers starter, compiling a 24-35 mark with the team before enduring stints in Minnesota and Indianapolis. In his second season, the Kansas State product powered Tampa Bay to a 10-6 mark and the postseason while throwing 25 touchdowns with only six interceptions.

The promising career quickly began to trend downward. The Buccaneers went 4-12 the following season and Freeman threw only 16 touchdowns with 22 interceptions. After one more season in Tampa Bay, he made his way as a backup to Minnesota and Indianapolis.

Extra Points: Luck, Hopkins, Bell, Freeman

As he enters his fifth-year option season, DeAndre Hopkins has nothing but great things to say about the Texans, as Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle writes.

Those talks are between the Texans and my agent, but this city has embraced me just like my hometown in South Carolina has,” said Hopkins, who’s represented by Creative Artists Agency. “I love being here. I love playing for this team, great organization. Bob McNair and Cal McNair, they do a great job at having an organization that speaks for itself. I thank those guys all the time for picking me 27th when nobody knew who DeAndre Hopkins was.”

Hopkins and Houston are expected to hammer out a new deal this offseason. For now, he’s set to play out the year at a $7.915MM figure.

Let’s check out some other notes from around the league…

  • Colts quarterback Andrew Luck underwent offseason shoulder surgery, and ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that he may not be ready for training camp in July. “To be honest, I have not thought about it,” Luck told Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star. “If I’m ready for it, then great. If I’m not, then that’s the way it is. I’m certainly hopeful for it. In my mind all I can do — and I truly feel this way — with this rehab, with my shoulder, I can’t look five months down the road, three months down the road, a week down the road. To me it’s about the next rehab session, the next day. That’s where my focus is and that’s where I think it needs to be to truly get back to 100 percent.” If Luck was forced to miss any time, Scott Tolzien would presumably take starters reps.
  • Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell still hasn’t signed his franchise tender with the organization, and ProFootballTalk.com’s Mike Florio wonders what it’d take to sign the Pro Bowler to an extension. Using the franchise tag as a guide, the writer guesses that Bell would request at least a two-year contract worth $26.6MM, with team options accounting for the subsequent years. Of course, considering the player’s injury and suspension history, Florio guesses that the Steelers would request some type of per-game bonuses. He also assumes that Bell would be seeking a lucrative roster bonus in an attempt to immediately pocket as much as money as possible.
  • Brandon McManus hasn’t signed his restricted free agent tender contract with the Broncos, but Mike Klis of 9News in Denver tweets that the veteran kicker is not “protesting,” noting that the 25-year-old is participating in minicamp. McManus has appeared in 47 games with the Broncos over the past three seasons, converting 82.9-percent of his field goal attempts.
  • Former NFL quarterback Josh Freeman worked out with the Montreal Alouettes today, reports Herb Zurkowsky of the Montreal Gazette (via Twitter). The former first-rounder’s last NFL appearance came in 2015, when he threw for 149 yards and one touchdown in a start for the Colts. Between 2010 and 2012, Freeman started 47 games for the Buccaneers.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

NFC Notes: Kaepernick, Lions, Megatron

A group will gather outside of the NFL’s headquarters on Wednesday to show support for former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, as ESPN.com’s Michael Rothstein writes.

He stood up for us. It’s only right that he took our issues in our communities and brought it to a national level and sacrificed salary and being ostracized by the NFL,” nonprofit chair Kevin Livingston said. “It was only right that we stand up for him. I started this, literally, when he came to my office — I was moved. I work with parolees. People usually want to ostracize this particular population. Me working with him on the front lines and him coming to my office, this is not the first time I’ve worked with him. “So I thought it was only right that I stand up for him.”

In addition to the demonstration in Manhattan, there will also be pro-Kaepernick gatherings in Brooklyn, Harlem, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, Orlando, Florida, Chicago, Houston, Washington, D.C., Miami, Detroit, and other locations. The Seahawks are known to have some interest in Kaepernick, but the QB still remains without work.

Here’s more from the NFC:

NFC Notes: Wentz, Johnson, Palmer, Giants

Further illustrating the Eagles‘ belief in Carson Wentz and their motivation to make the seminal trade with the Browns in April, new Philadelphia OC Frank Reich offered some high-end comparisons for the No. 2 overall pick.

Physically, he reminds me a little bit of a combination of Andrew Luck — though, I’ve never played with him — just watching him play, but a guy that I did play with in Jim Kelly, the size, strength and just the toughness,” Reich said, via Matt Lombardo of NJ.com.

Wentz ran a tenth of a second slower in the 40-yard dash compared to Luck coming out of college (4.77 seconds to 4.67), but the quarterbacks are similar in size — both 6-foot-5 and around 235 pounds. The younger player will attempt to build on his breakthrough debut, one executed despite scant preseason reps and the anticipation he’d be the third-string passer.

Here’s more on Wentz’s potential rise and on some other NFC teams.

  • The Eagles trading Sam Bradford to the Vikings opened the door not only for Wentz to receive an early start on Sundays, but it cleared a path toward endless practice reps instead of a short-term future as Philly’s third-stringer, Jeff McLane of Philly.com writes. Reich told media, including McLane, there was “no question” the additional practice work would accelerate Wentz’s development compared to a season spent behind Bradford and Chase Daniel. Per McLane, Wentz did not speak up much in quarterback meetings while he was the No. 3 quarterback, instead deferring to the veterans. Daniel functions as the scout-team quarterback, and the meetings are geared around a Wentz-conducted offense.
  • Doug Pederson expected to hear something on Lane Johnson‘s lingering suspension by now, Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly.com notes, but the league has yet to announce the expected 10-game ban. “You would think you would have heard something by now,” Pederson said. “If it does happen down the road, it just pushes everything back. Me personally, I’d rather know now than later. But until then, [Johnson] is the guy.” Pederson said Stefen Wisniewski would play left guard after current starter Allen Barbre swings to right tackle in the event Johnson’s ruling comes down. Wisniewski usurped Isaac Seumalo as the next guard up since the Eagles initially announced their Johnson contingency plan.
  • Earlier today, a potential Panthers plot to select Blaine Gabbert No. 1 overall emerged in advance of Sunday’s Panthers-49ers game. The Buccaneers‘ Week 2 opponent, the Cardinals, also employ a quarterback who will face a team that pursued him years ago. The Bucs attempted to trade for Palmer in 2013, but refusing to push then-starter Josh Freeman to a backup role did not make it an enticing fit for the then-Raiders quarterback as he looked for a team and a long-term deal, Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times writes, analyzing what could have been in advance of Sunday’s tilt. The Bucs joined the Cardinals and Bills in making a push for a then-33-year-old Palmer’s services. Then-Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano wasn’t enamored with Freeman, but the organization did not want to give up on the former first-round pick by automatically making Palmer a starter. Freeman lasted just three games into the ’13 season before being released.
  • The Giants worked out four linebackers on Saturday after cutting Deontae Skinner from their practice squad. Cassanova McKinzy, Deiontrez Mount, Eric Pinkins and Myke Tavarres worked out for the team, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports.

Josh Freeman’s Agent Contacted Cowboys

After backup quarterback Kellen Moore suffered a broken leg Tuesday, the Cowboys engaged in preliminary dialogue with free agent signal-caller Josh Freeman‘s camp Wednesday, reports Josina Anderson of ESPN. A source told Anderson that Freeman’s agent reached out to the Cowboys, who are “reviewing their options” (Twitter links).

Josh Freeman (vertical)

Earlier Thursday, ESPN’s Ed Werder reported that the Cowboys aren’t in any rush to find a replacement for Moore, who was set to serve as their top option behind Tony Romo. Dallas has also been connected to Nick Foles, who signed with the Chiefs on Wednesday, and Browns reserve Josh McCown.

In the case of Foles, the Cowboys’ interest was never particularly high. Owner Jerry Jones said Thursday (Twitter link via David Moore of the Dallas Morning News) that the team didn’t make a push to sign Foles as the competition for his services was winding down.

Cleveland is reportedly seeking a mid-round pick for McCown, 37, and the Cowboys are unsurprisingly less than eager to pay such a lofty price for someone they’d acquire with the hope of never having to use in a key situation. That could lead the club to go forward with rookie fourth-round pick Dak Prescott and 2015 undrafted free agent Jameill Showers, which Jones admitted is a possibility.

“We don’t know that we are void on campus at the backup at all,” he said (via Todd Archer of ESPN.com).

Relying on two players who have combined to throw zero passes in the NFL would obviously be a gamble for the Cowboys, who went a miserable 1-11 in the games Romo missed last season because of collarbone issues. In fairness to Jones, however, the Cowboys took the veteran route last year with Matt Cassel – which blew up in their faces – and there’s no guarantee someone like Freeman would be any more effective than either Prescott or Showers.

A first-round pick in 2009, Freeman showed flashes during his four years with the Buccaneers, but his career fell off a cliff early in 2013 and the Bucs released him that October. Now 28, Freeman has since spent time with the Vikings, Giants, Dolphins and Colts. Before signing with Indianapolis last December, he was a member of the Brooklyn Bolts of the Fall Experimental Football League. As an NFLer, Freeman has totaled 61 starts in 62 appearances, 81 touchdowns, 68 interceptions and a 57.6 percent completion rate. On Jan. 3, his first start since 2013, Freeman completed 15 of 28 passes for 149 yards, a touchdown and a pick in a 30-24 Colts victory over the Titans.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts Release Josh Freeman

The Colts announced that they have released quarterback Josh Freeman. The news comes as a surprise since he was expected to serve as a backup to Andrew Luck in 2016.

In late February, the Colts decided that they would not retain veteran backup Matt Hasselbeck. With the 40-year-old out of the picture, Freeman was seemingly left as the de facto No. 2 quarterback in Indianapolis. As it turns out, the team will explore other options as they seek out an understudy for their franchise quarterback.

Freeman was signed by the Colts as a free agent just before the New Year. With Luck banged up, Freeman started in the season finale against the Titans and completed 15-of-28 passes for 149 yards with one touchdown and one interception. For his career, Freeman has played in 62 NFL games (61 starts).

Colts Will Not Re-Sign Matt Hasselbeck

MONDAY, 4:02pm: Confirming Sunday’s reports, Hasselbeck has tweeted a goodbye to the Colts organization: “Amazing experience w/ Colts. My family & I are grateful to you Indianapolis. Many great friends, you will be missed!”

SUNDAY, 1:35pm: Andrew Luck will have a new backup in 2016, as the Colts will not attempt to re-sign veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, report Mike Silver and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter links). Instead, Indianapolis will turn to former Buccaneers starter Josh Freeman as its No. 2 signal-caller.Matt Hasselbeck (Vertical)

[RELATED: PFR previews the Colts’ 2016 offseason]

Even during his age-40 season, Hasselbeck played pretty well in relief of the injured Luck — he started eight games and posted a 5-3 record, completed 61% of his passes for 1,690 yards, and threw nine touchdowns against five interceptions. Hasselbeck said earlier this month that he planned to return for an 18th NFL season, and Colts head coach Chuck Pagano stated that the club “would love” to have him back. Evidently that thinking has changed, however, so if Hasselbeck wants to play one more year, it will be in a different uniform.

Freeeman, 28, signed with Indianapolis late in the 2015 season and ended up starting the club’s season finale (a win against the Titans). The former first-round pick brings 61 games worth of starting experience to the table — the majority of that time was with Tampa Bay, but Freeman also spent a brief one-game interlude with the Vikings in 2013.

The Colts also have fellow December signee Stephen Morris under contract for the 2016 season, so the team could choose to deploy him as their No. 3 quarterback. Meanwhile, veteran Charlie Whitehurst isn’t mentioned in the NFL.com report, but if Freeman is set to act as the backup, there’s little chance Whitehurst — an unrestricted free agent — will return to Indianpolis.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

South Notes: Jaguars, Babineaux, Colts

The Jaguars became the first NFL team of the offseason to officially part ways with its defensive coordinator today, announcing that Bob Babich won’t return in 2016. With Babich no longer in the picture, Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union has seven suggestions for potential replacements, including former head coaches Jim Schwartz and Mike Smith.

As we wait to see which direction Jacksonville goes for its DC opening, let’s check in on a few more items out of the NFL’s South divisions….

  • An elite free safety would be a welcome addition to the Jaguars‘ defense, but GM David Caldwell suggested today that finding one could be even harder than finding a franchise quarterback, as John Oehser of Jaguars.com tweets.
  • Falcons veteran defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux, who just completed his eleventh season, says that he still has more football left in him, as Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com writes. “Maybe one to two [years left]. My goal always was to get to 12 and decide if I wanted to continue or retire then. I know I have a few more years left in me,” he said. Babineaux is signed through next season.
  • The Colts have late-season additions Josh Freeman and Ryan Lindley signed through the 2016 season, so they plan on bringing back both quarterbacks in the offseason and evaluating them, tweets Mike Chappell of CBS4.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Colts Sign Josh Freeman, Ryan Lindley

4:07pm: The Colts have gotten back up to the 53-man roster limit by signing another quarterback, Ryan Lindley, the team announced in a press release. The move gives Indianapolis five signal-callers in total on its roster, including three healthy QBs, and gives the team another option for this Sunday.

2:39pm: The Colts have filled two openings on their 53-man roster, announcing today that they’ve signed quarterback Josh Freeman and promoted inside linebacker Amarlo Herrera from their practice squad. The team created two open spots on Monday by placing quarterback Charlie Whitehurst and guard Hugh Thornton on the injured reserve list, and created one more today by also sending linebacker Josh McNary to IR.

Since starting his career with the Buccaneers and then spending a little time in 2013 in Minnesota, Freeman has not appeared in a regular season game or even spent any real time on a club’s in-season roster. Most recently, he played for the Dolphins this summer and then joined the FXFL’s Brooklyn Bolts in the fall.

After working out for the Colts on Monday, Freeman becomes the second healthy quarterback on the roster, joining Stephen Morris. Assuming Andrew Luck and Matt Hasselbeck are unable to play this weekend, as is expected, either Freeman or Morris – who was signed off the Eagles’ practice squad last Thursday – will have to start for Indianapolis in its regular season finale.

We’ll have to wait and see whether Freeman gets a shot to play in Week 17, and if he’s a part of the Colts’ plans for 2016 at all.