Quarterback Josh Freeman was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday, a week after being benched in favor of rookie Mike Glennon.
The winless Bucs made the latest move during their bye week after general manager Mark Dominik contacted every other team in the NFL in an unsuccessful attempt to trade Freeman, a 4,000-yard passer a year ago and the team's career leader with 1,144 completions and 80 touchdowns.
Coach Greg Schiano benched Freeman after the 25-year-old completed just 45.7 percent of his passes and posted a league-low quarterback rating of 59.3 through three games, all losses. Glennon made his first pro start last Sunday, turning the ball over three times during the fourth quarter of a 13-10 loss to Arizona.
Freeman is owed the remaining $6.25 million on the contract he signed as the third quarterback selected in the 2009 draft behind Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez.
"We appreciate his efforts over the past five seasons, but we felt this was in the best interests of both Josh and the Buccaneers," Dominik said a brief 33-word statement.
Freeman threw for 4,065 yards, 27 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in 2012, but his inconsistent play down the stretch contributed to the team losing five of six games and failing to make the playoffs for the fifth straight year. He led the Bucs to a 10-6 record though not a postseason berth while throwing for 25 TDs and just six interceptions in his first full season as a starter in 2010.
The release caps a tumultuous month in which Freeman overslept before missing a team photo shoot, was not voted a captain for the first time since his rookie year, and reportedly missed at least one other team meeting.
Around the league
Patriots • New England signed four-year veteran and ex-BYU player Austin Collie to add experience to its young wide receiver corps. It also placed defensive tackle Vince Wilfork on injured reserve and released tight end Zach Sudfeld, a rookie free agent who struggled after an impressive preseason.
Jaguars • Jacksonville is not going to trade running back Maurice Jones-Drew or linebacker Paul Posluszny. General manager Dave Caldwell made it clear that there is no firesale taking place in Jacksonville, which is 0-4 for the third time in franchise history and has scored a league-low 31 points.
Giants • New York's offensive line is getting its fourth face lift in five games. Veteran lineman David Diehl, who injured his right thumb late in the preseason and had surgery, will be starting at right guard Sunday against Philadelphia. Diehl was active for the first time last week, but did not play.
Week 5 schedule
Buffalo at Cleveland, 6:25 p.m., NFL
Detroit at Green Bay, 11 a.m.
New Orleans at Chicago, 11 a.m.
Kansas City at Tennessee, 11 a.m.
Jacksonville at St. Louis, 11 a.m.
New England at Cincinnati, 11 a.m., Ch. 2
Seattle at Indianapolis, 11 a.m., Ch. 13
Baltimore at Miami, 11 a.m.
Philadelphia at N.Y. Giants, 11 a.m.
Carolina at Arizona, 2:05 p.m.
Denver at Dallas, 2:25 p.m., Ch. 2
Houston at San Francisco, 6:30 p.m., Ch. 5
San Diego at Oakland, 9:35 p.m.
Open: Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Washington
N.Y. Jets at Atlanta, 6:40 p.m., ESPN