Dennis Hickey gives QB Josh Freeman one more shot

The NFL can be a cruel league for quarterbacks.

For some, they're hailed as the future of the franchise on draft day. But by Year 2, it is "perform or find the bench." By Season 3, quarterbacks who don't do enough usually are thrown in the rubble and teams swiftly move on.

New Miami Dolphins quarterback Josh Freeman knows what it's like to be in that vicious NFL cycle. He went from a potential face of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' franchise in 2009 to a quarterback bust who didn't throw a single pass last season. His free-fall was fast and dizzying.

But Freeman received a life raft -- and perhaps his final chance -- from a familiar face in Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey. Miami's GM was part of the Tampa Bay front office which believed in Freeman enough to make him a first-round pick six years ago. On Thursday, Hickey's Dolphins signed Freeman to a one-year contract.

This could be Freeman's final chance to make something out of his pro career. With his days of being a franchise starter over, maybe Freeman can develop into a talented backup quarterback. He does have decent numbers, throwing for 13,724 yards, 80 touchdowns and 67 interceptions in his career. Freeman also has a 77.8 passer rating.

There is very little risk in this signing for the Dolphins. Freeman will enter Miami's offseason program as a third-string quarterback and with an unfamiliar title of a "camp arm." Freeman is in no better position in Miami than former “camp arms” Pat Devlin, Brady Quinn or Brock Jensen in recent seasons.

It will be up to Freeman to prove he is worth one of the Dolphins' final 53 roster spots this summer. At this stage of his career, nothing is guaranteed.