Miami Dolphins: What does Josh Freeman signing mean?

During the last decade and a half, the Miami Dolphins franchise was in what seemed to be a never-ending carousel at the quarterback position. From 1999-2011, the Dolphins unsuccessfully started 17 different quarterbacks, resulting in just four playoff appearances over a 13-year span.

But over the course of the last few seasons, the Dolphins seemed to have found their franchise quarterback. Back in 2012, the team used their first-round selection on Ryan Tannehill – the senior from Texas A&M.

In his three years with Miami, Tannehill has slowly blossomed into a solid quarterback in the league, giving the front office hope for what will be a longand successful career in a Dolphins uniform.

While Tannehill continues to thrive with the Dolphins, one quarterback who has had an up-and-down career is Josh Freeman.

After being selected 17th overall in the 2009 NFL draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Freeman was expected to be the face of the Buccaneers franchise.

In his second season, Freeman had a breakout year, leading Tampa Bay to a 10-6 record. That year, he completed 61.4 percent of his passes, and threw for 3,451 yards, 25 touchdowns and six interceptions.

However, over the next two seasons Freeman regressed, throwing a total 43 touchdowns to 39 interceptions. In addition to the poor touchdown/interception ratio, the team had a losing record, combining to win just 11 games during this span.

Oct 21, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Josh Freeman (12) drops back to pass against the New York Giants during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Freeman was ultimately released after the team was unable to trade him. He would go onto sign with the Minnesota Vikings – where he played just one game, completing 37.7 passes in a 23-7 loss to the New York Giants on Monday Night Football.

For Freeman, that was the last anyone saw of him.

Now, after a near year-long sabbatical from the NFL, Freeman is set to make a return. He and the Dolphins came to an agreement last week, bringing the seventh year Kansas State product in on a one-year contract.

With Matt Moore recently signing a one-year deal to return to Miami as the backup quarterback and Tannehill as the starter, the signing of Freeman was likely to ensue competition during training camp. Freeman comes into the Dolphins organization with a relationship with the current general manager Dennis Hickey.

Hickey, who is now in his second year as the team’s general manager, has ties with Freeman. He was in charge of the Buccaneers college scouting department when they decided to draft him in 2009. Coming into Miami, Freeman has the hopes of resurrecting what has been a severely-damaged NFL career.

As far as where he fits in on the depth chart, Freeman will be the team’s third string quarterback heading into the offseason workouts. With holes that must be filled via the NFL draft, the Dolphins had no choice but to sign a veteran quarterback heading into camp. Signing one with a connection to the front office is clearly a smart decision.

Even though Freeman has struggled in the later part of his career, he still can bring something to the Dolphins roster. If one of the two quarterbacks does fall to injury, the Dolphins will have the luxury of their third string quarterback having starting experience. This bodes well for Miami as they are clearly in a win-now mode.

If he is needed, the signing of Freeman could end up being a good one for the Dolphins. But in reality, if Freeman doesn’t out perform Moore in training camp and preseason, he will likely be a roster cut