Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign QB Josh Freeman
Josh Freeman is signed, sealed and ready to deliver on his promise as a first-round pick.
The Bucs reached an agreement with Freeman on a five-year contract Thursday night and he signed the deal this morning.
Freeman said he was glad to get negotiations behind him so he could report on time.
"That weighed heavily, the time frame we're in,'' Freeman said. "I expressed to my agent that's one of my main goals, to become the starter of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the best way to do that is to be in camp on time. That was definitely something that I maybe made a little compromise, but it ended up working out.''
Terms of the contract were not released, but ESPN reported that it is worth $36-million and includes $10.245-million in guarantees.
Freeman, 21, was the 17th overall pick by the Bucs in the NFL draft last April. The Bucs completed the signing of their entire 2008 draft class just hours before players report to training camp today.
Practice begins Saturday morning at One Buc Place with a night workout scheduled at Raymond James Stadium.
Freeman's signing means the rookie from Kansas State will be in camp in time to compete for a starting job with veterans Luke McCown, Byron Leftwich and second-year pro Josh Johnson. General manager Mark Dominik has said the plan is for Freeman to spend his rookie year watching and learning. But quarterbacks coach Greg Olson said the team plans to re-evaluate Freeman one week into training camp to determine whether they should accelerate his development.
Freeman has been working at One Buc Place and said he tried not to think about negotiations. His focus now is to convince the Bucs he is ready to play right away.
"Honestly, I couldn't tell you,'' Freeman said of his chance to start as a rookie. "That's all the coach's decision. I'm just going to come in and try to give them every reason I can to start me.''