The Cleveland Browns stunned the entire league last week by trading running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts for a 2014 first-round draft pick, after one season plus two games of service.
Though it’s very rare, a second trade in the NFL regular season might be on the horizon in the coming weeks.
Earlier this week, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers sent rollercoaster quarterback Josh Freeman to the bench, and promoted rookie Mike Glennon to start on Sunday against Arizona. The Bucs have started the season 0-3 with Freeman completing 45 percent of his passes for two touchdowns and three interceptions.
As could have been expected, the 2009 first-round pick did not take the news well, and during an interview with ESPN on Thursday, Freeman discussed whether he wants to leave the Buccaneers.
"You know, I don't for a number of reasons," Freeman said. "But the bottom line is, if you want things to change, something has got to change. At the end of the day, yes, I think that moving forward, that might be, that is going to be probably the best option.
"The bottom line is for me as [a] player, I can't worry about everyone else.I can't worry about what everybody is doing. I just have to focus on the best situation for me. ..."
Freeman went one step further and called out head coach Greg Schiano.
"Obviously the head coach [Greg Schiano] has come out and said that this isn't the place for me to be a starting quarterback. He doesn't think that I give this team the best chance to win. I don't agree, but at the same time, I'm the player and he's the coach. Whatever happens next, I'm moving on. I'm going to be excited to go out and make the most of any situation."
Freeman’s interview was reportedly unauthorized, and now the Bucs are considering making him the inactive third quarterback on Sunday. According to the Tampa Bay Tribune, Freeman was originally designated as the No. 2 back-up, but calling out Schiano might have cost him any chance of playing.
In 60 career games and 59 as a starter, Freeman has completed 58 percent of his passes for 13,534 yards and 80 touchdowns to go with 66 interceptions. His best year came in 2010 when Tampa Bay finished 10-6 behind Freeman's 25 touchdown passes, barely missing the playoffs.
Freeman is the third highest paid player for Bucs this year at $9.7 million, and is an unrestricted free agent following this season. Considering his remarks and recent play, its unclear what Tampa Bay can expect in return for Freeman.
Since he seems reluctant but also realistic about his present situation, a quick glance around the league shows several teams that could use a quarterback with Freeman's considerable experience and abilities.
Roughly 200 miles to the north is Jacksonville, home to possibly the worst quarterback situation in the league. Blaine Gabbert, who was drafted 10th overall in the 2011 NFL Draft, doesn’t appear to be the franchise quarterback the Jaguars were hoping for, and Chad Henne may only have a few more years left as a serviceable, but underwhelming starter.
A complete change in climate might be in order if the Minnesota Vikings show any interest in Freeman. It was announced on Friday that third-year quarterback Christian Ponder will sit out Week Four with a rib injury, and Matt Cassel will start in his place. Ponder has had several strong games for Vikings in three years, but many pegged 2013 as his last year to convince team management he could be the quarterback of the future.
The Browns could also be an option, but many believe the team is angling for position in next year’s draft for a shot at heralded college quarterbacks Teddy Bridgewater, Brett Hundley, or Tajh Boyd.
The Oakland Raiders could be another team, depending on how Terrelle Pryor improves his passing over the course of the season. He’s already broken the team record for rushing yards by a quarterback in a single game, but like many scrambling quarterbacks Pryor risks injury every time he breaks the pocket.