First off, let me emphatically say that Jay Cutler is the Chicago Bears’ QB and that shouldn’t change. One bad game does not a season make. However, recently released former Bucs QB Josh Freeman would make one heck of a backup. Let me ask you: If Cutty got hurt, who would you rather have as his replacement: Josh McCown or Josh Freeman?
I realize that Freeman had an ugly, public spat with his bosses in Tampa Bay and he was not entirely blameless in the whole mess. And I also understand that he can be an awful QB when he is bad, as he showed in the final six games of last season and in the early returns of this 2013 campaign. Heck, that’s why he’s available on the open market.
But know this too: Freeman is a former first-round draft pick with elite size and physical gifts who is only 25-years old. He is coming off a season when he threw for more than 4,000 yards and 27 touchdowns. McCown doesn’t have anywhere near that kind of resume. In fact, if this was a job interview it would compare to a licensed CPA going up against an older, out-of-work former accounting clerk for a job at a prestigious firm. In short, it isn’t even close.
Meanwhile, if you’re concerned that the signing could create a QB controversy, I say so what? That very same thing occurred in San Francisco last season and things didn’t go too badly for the Niners, did it? After sitting former starting QB Alex Smith for the young, inexperienced Colin Kapernieck, sparking debate that players shouldn’t lose their jobs over an injury, all that team did was end up playing in the Super Bowl.
The Bears should be so lucky.
Keep in mind that injuries inevitably happen to QBs in the NFL, and Cutler certainly isn’t exempt from that possibility. In fact, he has missed some time in each of his years with the Bears and the end result is that they usually lose when he is not in the huddle.
Now, I’m not suggesting the team wouldn’t skip a beat if Cutler goes down and Freeman starts. But the Bears would certainly stand a better chance with the former Bucco than with McClown, er McCown.
I know what you’re thinking: If Freeman is any good, why would Tampa just cut ties with him without any compensation? To that end, I suggest that even if he doesn’t turn out to be anything more than an insurance policy, at least the signing wouldn’t cost the Bears any players in trade. And if he is needed, and responds well, the Bears look like geniuses.
Many think the Bucs’ offense has held Freeman back. But regardless of why he has stunk at times, players sometimes thrive when given a second chance at redemption. Perhaps this release will wake him up and he will start to show more of the Pro Bowl form he displayed in the first 10 games of last season.
But even if he turns out to be a dud, it’s a low risk move with a high potential upside. What’s not to like about that?
Having said that, many teams will be coming hard after Freeman, so even if Emery expresses interest, there is no guarantee they would get their man. But Freeman would be going to a team that has a winning record and plays in a big market. Plus, he has a better chance at playing than if he went to Green Bay, one of the teams reportedly interested.
It’s at least worth a try.
Freeman is a free man. Take advantage, Bears.
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Filed under: Free Agency