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Tampa reportedly open to trading Josh Freeman

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Carolina Panthers

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 18: Josh Freeman #5 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers talks to head coach Greg Schiano during their game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on November 18, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

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The Buccaneers have benched quarterback Josh Freeman and reports indicate that they are open to moving him even further from their starting lineup.

Albert Breer and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network and Ed Werder of ESPN are all reporting that the Bucs would be willing to trade their 2009 first-round pick now that Mike Glennon will be running the offense. Both men add that the Bucs aren’t planning to give Freeman away because they’re comfortabe with him as their backup quarterback.

With Freeman all but certain to leave the team after his contract expires at the end of the season, Tampa would be in line for a compensatory draft pick in the 2015 draft. Those picks start being doled out at the end of the third round and are determined based on a formula that takes into account salary, playing time and the ratio of free agents signed by the team to those they lost.

If the Bucs were to trade Freeman now, they would likely get picks in the 2014 draft from the acquiring team. That would bring more immediate help, but it might not be as high a pick as they’d receive the next year for letting Freeman walk.

Of course, all of that assumes that there are teams who want to pull the trigger on a deal for an impending free agent who has completed 45.7 percent of his passes a quarter of the way into the regular season. There’s also the matter of fitting his remaining salary under the cap to consider, which makes it less likely that Freeman will be fitted for a new uniform before the 2013 season comes to an end.