Extra Points: Weak QB market may spark interest in Freeman

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Updated: 3/07 9:55 am

Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - In any dispute, there are two sides to the story and the truth, which inevitably lies somewhere in between.

Josh Freeman was regarded as one of the top young quarterbacks in all of football as late as 2012 before Greg Schiano and Leslie Frazier proved to be the most powerful tag-team since the Road Warriors while taking turns destroying the 26-year-old's reputation.

If that sounds like a defense of Freeman, so be it, but understand it's a half- hearted one. The Kansas State product, who entered the NFL as the 17th overall pick in the 2009 draft, also deserves plenty of culpability in his own downfall.

The truth here is that Freeman is neither the coach-killer some portray him as nor the victim others do.

Mother Teresa might have a tough time getting along with the ill-tempered Schiano, but Frazier would be at the top of any list for most likeable personalities in the game.

It was easy for Freeman's camp to label Schiano's accusations of a laissez- faire work ethic and poor leadership skills in Tampa as the manifestations of a deranged coach on a power trip. The fact that Frazier also believed that of Freeman in Minnesota, however, speaks volumes.

And, in the end, the "leaking" of Freeman's inclusion in an NFL drug program by someone in the Tampa Bay organization -- while undeniably dirty pool -- also turned out to be true.

In a statement at the time, Freeman claimed he has never tested positive for any illegal drugs but was forced to admit taking medication for ADHD and said that he accidentally took Ritalin instead of Adderrall, which triggered a positive test.

As a result of the test, Freeman was placed in Stage 1 of the league's drug program and is now subject to frequent drug tests.

We now know, by any objective measurement, both Schiano and Frazier proved to be poor NFL head coaches, and each was dismissed from their job after the 2013 season.

Schiano remains unemployed while Frazier landed in Tampa as the defensive coordinator for long-time friend Lovie Smith. Freeman, meanwhile, is an afterthought on a free agent quarterback market shallower than your average Kardashian.

In fact, if you are wondering why draft experts believe three signal callers who admittedly aren't top-five level prospects -- Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel -- could wind up being in that rarified air come May, look no further than the list of potential free agents.

The soon-to-be 34-year-old Michael Vick is the "top talent" set to be stocked on the shelves come March 11 with the steady if unspectacular Matt Cassel, and veteran backup Josh McCown taking place and show honors, respectively.

It would have been laughable to even suggest the Freeman of 2012 would hit the free agent market without the cumbersome franchise tag attached, and the Freeman of 2014 -- even with all the warts -- is the only real option with a chance to rise above stop-gap status.

Remember this is a player who threw 25 touchdown passes and only six interceptions in 2010. Two years later, Freeman tossed for 4,065 yards and 27 touchdowns, a ceiling most quarterbacks in the NFL can't even see, never mind reach.

"I know he is a big quarterback with a strong arm that can do a lot of good things at all levels of the field," Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said when he signed Freeman.

So what's happened since Spielman spoke so glowingly of Freeman last October?

One Monday night stinker at the New York Giants in which the young QB was inserted into a game after all of four practices with his new team and threw 33 often-ugly incompletions which made Steve Blass and Rick Ankiel look like control pitchers.

Some Freeman apologists even speculated that Frazier, who never really wanted Freeman in Minneapolis, threw his new cadence caller to the wolves to prove a point and expose the man who ultimately fired him -- Spielman.

To most that's a bit much. Frazier remains as classy as it gets as a person and while it's now clear he had no interest in taking on a player he didn't believe could help him at the time, it's a very big stretch to then make the leap to the point where the ex-Vikings mentor was actively trying to derail Freeman's chances with the team.

After all, Frazier was coaching for his job by that point.

It's now time for Freeman to stop pointing fingers and take personal inventory because the blame game he and his camp have been trying to sell is exactly what is hampering his reputation around the league.

If the alarm ever does go off, however, and Freeman takes ownership of his role in this drama, all of a sudden the malcontent on the back-burner is back in play as the ultimate low-risk, high-reward signing at the game's most important position.

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