ASSOCIATED PRESS – Josh Freeman signed with the New York Giants on Monday to be a backup quarterback to Eli Manning.
Freeman was released by Tampa Bay early last season and spent the rest of 2013 with Minnesota. His one start for the Vikings was in a 23-7 loss to the Giants in which he struggled, going 20 of 53 for 190 yards with an interception.
Freeman is the 15th veteran the Giants have added in free agency. He joins Manning, Curtis Painter and Ryan Nassib as quarterbacks on the roster. New York is expected to keep either two or three quarterbacks next season.
Tampa Bay cut Freeman in a messy split last year. He was the Buccaneers’ first-round draft pick in 2009 out of Kansas State. He became a starter in November of that year and started 60 games for Tampa Bay.
Freeman’s quarterbacks coach in Minnesota was Craig Johnson, now the Giants’ running backs coach.
“I’m definitely excited about being a part of this great organization,’’ the 26-year-old Freeman said during the team’s first day of offseason conditioning. “Obviously, it’s a chance to go play quality football, learn from some great coaches, learn from a great quarterback in Eli. … Yeah, I’m definitely looking forward to it.’’
Freeman went 0-3 as a starter in 2013 with the Buccaneers before being cut on Oct. 3. He signed with the Vikings five days later, but other than his start against the Giants, he was a nonfactor in Minnesota.
“Last year was rough all around, but I’m happy to get a new start here and have an opportunity to be there for the Giants and see where it goes,’’ he said.