What's next for Josh Freeman?

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Having benched their former first-round draft pick in favor of rookie Mike Glennon, the Buccaneers must now decide what to do with Freeman. Trading him before he hits free agency at the end of the season seems a likely option, but can they find anyone willing to deal for him?

After several years of inconsistency and a rough beginning to 2013, Josh Freeman is officially out as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers starting quarterback. Weeks of rumored clashes with head coach Greg Schiano and an 0-3 start finally tipped the scales for Freeman, who was benched on Wednesday in favor of rookie Mike Glennon. So with his days as a starting quarterback in Tampa Bay likely over, what's next for Freeman?

Reports that the quarterback could ask the team to trade him have been floating around for over a week, and although he has denied the rumor, it seems a trade could now be imminent whether he requests it or not. With Freeman's rookie contract set to expire at the end of the season, the Buccaneers may try to get a return on his departure before he hits free agency.

The issue that the Bucs now face is finding a trade partner willing and able to deal for Freeman. Most importantly, they will have to find someone that can afford the $6.942 million remaining on his original $8.43 million contract. According to Brian McIntyre, only nine teams in the NFL currently have the necessary $6.9 million in cap space to take on Freeman: Buffalo, Cleveland, Carolina, Cincinnati, Green Bay, Jacksonville, Miami, Philadelphia and Tennessee.

The next step would be finding someone that 1) needs a quarterback and 2) would be willing to give up the pieces needed to acquire one. We can go ahead and throw out the Bengals, Eagles, Packers and Panthers, as they already have established signal callers. With youngsters Jake Locker, Ryan Tannehill and E.J. Manuel off to solid starts in Tennessee, Miami and Buffalo, respectively, it seems unlikely that those teams would have interest, either.

That leaves the Browns and Jaguars as the most likely trade partners. Jacksonville is certainly looking for an upgrade over Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne, but whether they would be willing to give up draft picks to acquire Freeman is questionable. Sitting at 0-3 and showing little hope for improvement, they may elect to fold their cards on 2013 and cash in on a top pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.

The Browns are in better position to compete, and could benefit immediately from the acquisition of a new quarterback. They seem to have moved on from Brandon Weeden, and clearly don't trust backup Jason Campbell. However, they may want more time to evaluate third-stringer-turned-starter Brian Hoyer, who tossed three touchdowns and led a game-winning drive against Minnesota last Sunday. More significantly, the team just dealt star running back Trent Richardson away for a first-round selection in 2014, a sign that they likely plan on picking up a franchise quarterback through next year's draft.

The NFL trade deadline is Oct. 29. That gives any potential trade partners time to consider the team's needs and the mechanics of making a deal for Freeman.

More from SB Nation NFL:

Nate Burleson breaks arm saving a falling pizza

NFL power rankings: Only 7 undefeated teams left

Celebrity Hot Tub's Post-Mortem: Death by Brian Hoyer

Fumblr: Kill this mascot

The Jay Cutler high school slam dunk mix tape | #Lookit

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.