The New York Giants have decided to cut former Vikings quarterback (technically) Josh Freeman despite the fact that he was only receiving veteran’s minimum (and therefore had a cap hit lower than he was actually paid) and that training camp hadn’t actually happened yet. The fact that it means Curtis Painter is still with the Giants speaks more to Josh Freeman’s prospects than the simple fact that he was given up on by three teams in less than a year.
Freeman’s rookie year was fairly typical for a rookie, but his sophomore season was one of the best for a young passer in NFL history (ranking ninth all-time in adjusted net yards per attempt for anyone 23 or younger). He had a down 2011, but his 2012 was incredible until the final three games—ranking seventh among quarterbacks at that point.
After that it was all downhill. In 2013, he threw four interceptions to only two touchdowns and had one of the worst years a quarterback has put together, playing for two different teams at the time—including a disastrous stint with the Vikings
I was a strong advocate of signing Josh Freeman, and a lot of the arguments I make in that post still ring true today though don’t take into account one evident fact: that Freeman, for some reason or another, doesn’t have the mental ability to run an NFL offense, despite having that ability earlier.
The fact that we debate whether or not Teddy Bridgewater should wait to start after several months of learning the playbook while ignoring the fact that Freeman had 12 days to learn the offense in 2013 is a little disingenuous, but the fact that he didn’t catch on in New York is certainly an indictment of who he is.
NJ.com has a description of one of the OTAs New York ran that paints an ugly picture:
The pecking order at quarterback during Thursday’s OTAs: Manning, Ryan Nassib, Curtis Painter/Josh Freeman. Manning appeared to take every first-team snap. That was somewhat expected, despite ankle surgery last month.
Seeing Nassib as the primary second-team QB was more of a surprise. It seems to indicate that the Giants are going to give last year’s fourth-round pick every chance to be Manning’s backup this season. If Nassib (who looked shaky on Thursday) doesn’t win that job, it’s going to be quite an indictment.
Painter is just another guy and Freeman appeared to be little more than the camp arm the Giants were trying to sell him as after they signed him this offseason. During one drill, Freeman lined up the offense incorrectly and the play was never run. He was immediately subbed out, with Painter taking his place.
The fact that Freeman was late to several meetings in Eden Prairie tells us that he gave up on the Vikings in 2013, but that may continue to be true for his career. Tom Pelissero wrote:
“You could tell Josh did not know the offense,” said one of several Vikings players who spoke to USA TODAY Sports about the situation Tuesday. The players spoke on the condition of anonymity, because they weren’t supposed to discuss team business publicly.
“Practices did not really go that well that week. But Coach Frazier was in the team meetings like, ‘Oh, I think this is the best week of practice we’ve had all year.’ And everyone’s like, what? What are you talking about?”
. . .
“Debacle,” a second player said of the Vikings’ quarterback situation this season. “When they started Josh in that Giants game, we were as confused as anybody.”
. . .
Four people with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports that Freeman was late for numerous meetings in his roughly three months with the Vikings. A third player said Freeman often was among the last players to the facility.
. . .
“I feel bad for Josh getting thrown in so quickly,” the first player said.
Freeman bombed against the New York Giants on national television Oct. 21, completing 20 of 53 passes for 190 yards with an interception in a 23-7 loss, then reported concussion symptoms the next day and never played again.
The only situation that makes sense for him is Oakland, where he could compete with Matt McGloin and Trent Edwards to back up Derek Carr and Matt Schaub—and maybe play caretaker QB if Schaub underperforms. He did, after all, put up those impressive numbers in Greg Olson’s offense, and Olson currently is the offensive coordinator there, giving him a bit of a head start on Schaub and Carr.
But if the attitude he had with the Vikings continues elsewhere, his tenure in the NFL is over despite his talent. And it looks like it has.