TAMPA — So you want a new quarterback.
You think your life will be giddy, and you will have all those playoffs parties to attend instead of shutting the season down when the new year comes.
Be careful what you wish for, Bucs fans, because you may get it.
You may not like Josh Freeman, but you could do a lot worse.
You invaded the talk shows this week screaming for a change, but Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees are not available.
Neither are those other guys who rank just below them, including Peyton's kid brother and those three rookies who have made you delusional.
You'd rather have Big Ben despite the pick he threw last week that might cost the Pittsburgh Steelers a playoff spot. You still prefer Cam, though he is suffering the sophomore jinx that hit Freeman in his second year as a starter.
You could do a lot worse than Freeman. You could do better, but would you rather be mediocre or horrible at football's most important position?
Besides, you have other more pressing needs. Brady might be the only quarterback who could take you to the playoffs with your leaky secondary.
And who knows, you might be searching for a new head coach in a year or two.
You don't have any quality depth, which goes back to the stingy habits of your owners and a GM who misses more than he hits.
You are less than a year
removed from that 2011 debacle that saw you lose 10 straight to end the season. But guess what: Lose the final two games this year and you will end with six consecutive defeats.
We know Freeman keeps you up with nightmares, and last week's 41-0 loss to New Orleans had you calling your therapist in the middle of the night.
It took him hours to convince you that Raheem Morris was not the man you saw standing on the sidelines, that it was a dream brought on by the day's trauma.
Don't tell us you want, Tim Tebow; he would be okay if you could bring in Urban Meyer and petition the NFL to let you play an SEC schedule.
Besides, if you think Freeman has a fragile psych, take a look at Mark Sanchez. With Tebow as his backup, he crumbled into a basket case who couldn't tell his guys from their guys.
St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford might have a good game against the Bucs on Sunday, and you will want to put the call in, but he is tied up with a big contract that scares the Bucs.
In the NFC, you would take almost any quarterback over Freeman, but they are not available, though the list is long: Manning, Romo, Griffin III, Rodgers, Cutler, Stafford, Wilson, Bradford and your new sweetheart, Colin Kaepernick.
Freeman makes you fall in love with all of them, you fickle little rascal.
We get it. But they are not coming.
Would you rather have Carson Palmer or the new Philip Rivers, who looks like the old Josh Freeman?
So in Josh we do not trust. But we could do much worse.
There is Joe Flacco, Blaine Gabbert, a guy named John Skelton, and Alex Smith will probably be on the market soon.
Do you really want that? Think your migraines are bad now?
Josh brought you some thrills this year. During a four-week stretch, he lit up the NFL and had you believing the messiah had arrived.
Then he became human again; worse, he became Josh Freeman, and you were overwhelmed with depression.
But there are reasons to smile. There is Vincent Jackson and Doug Martin, the two reasons Freeman has looked better than Freeman at times this season.
Have patience. It all goes back to the defense. If the Bucs' D can ever get like the 49ers and old Pittsburgh Steelers. then all Freeman has to do is be caretaker of the offense. You can live with that.
We know you want better. But those who oversee One Buc Place must fix the leaks in your secondary and build some quality depth elsewhere.
Until then, exercise patience.
Be careful what you wish for.
You may get it.
Alan Dell, Herald sports writer, can be reached at 941-745-7048, ext. 2112. Follow him on Twitter at @ADellSports.