TAMPA — Though it has been apparent since the end of the regular season that the Bucs likely will wait before extending the contract of quarterback Josh Freeman, general manager Mark Dominik left no doubt Monday during a series of radio interviews.
Emphasizing that "no one's in a hurry" despite Freeman's contract expiring after the 2013 season, Dominik said the quarterback will enter the season without a new deal.
"I would say the way coach (Greg Schiano) and I talk about it is that there's no sense of urgency," Dominik said during interviews with 98.7-FM and 620-AM. "There's no hurry from Josh Freeman and his representation (either). So there's good communication going on. We do have time on our hands.
"Josh is going to try to play the best he can, and we'll watch the situation unfold and how the offseason goes. But Josh has done a good job."
Dominik later added that Freeman "wants to maximize his ability" before discussing a new deal as he heads into his fifth season.
Freeman, who turned 25 Sunday, had a career year this season, setting career highs in yards (4,065) and touchdown passes (27), but he had a series of games with monumental struggles, throwing eight interceptions in a two-game span down the stretch. That gave the team reason to pause when considering his future.
Still, Dominik stressed the positives seen in 2012 from the team's 2009 first-round pick.
"We felt he had a solid season," Dominik said of Freeman. "He had a couple games that a lot of people talked about. But he had a stretch run that was as good as it got in the National Football League."