The Colts and Dwight Freeney: Should They Reunite?


Dwight Freeney was once the Indianapolis Colts all-time leader in sacks. He was a force to be reckoned with and routinely described as one of the worst match-up problems in the NFL.

Two years ago, the Colts cut Freeney for cap saving reasons after it was decided that he wasn’t an effective 3-4 outside linebacker. While Freeney was always a more dominant in-line defensive end, he still posted five sacks at 32.

Many declared that he was “done” but given the right situation, it appears that Freeney could still be an effective player.

After leaving the Colts, Freeney was signed by the San Diego Chargers but was again playing at outside rush linebacker. He played just four games in 2013, but was providing great pressure and proved to be disruptive before his quad tear.

In 2014, he led the Chargers in QB hits and hurries and was second in sacks. He had just 3.5 sacks last season, but proved to have value on the field.

Now, at 35, Freeney says he is determined to come back next season. He spoke with Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego about the possibility of retirement.

"“I could retire tomorrow and still be happy with what I’ve done in this league,” said Freeney. “But I think I have a lot in the tank as well. It’s one of those things where I’m going to wait for the right situation to come across the table. Hopefully it’s with the Chargers. If they are not interested, obviously, you have to (test) the free agent market and see what team is interested.”"

Freeney is 20th all-time in sack in the NFL with 111.5. He’s just a half sack ahead of Robert Mathis.

Freeney also spoke about how he would be utilized with the Chargers and what his role with the team would be.

"“When it comes to the Chargers, it’s not going to come down to whether they have enough talent,” Freeney said. “I know they do. I just don’t know how they’d utilize me or what their plan is for me. They have a lot of young guys at the position. They may draft a guy. They may even get some other free agents in there.“It matters to me. I don’t want to come into a situation where I’m not a part of that defense the way I need to be. I’m giving them all the time in the world to do their thing, to evaluate. … I’m not against signing in June. It’s just a matter of the team and the place and what they want and how do they want to use me. Do they really want me or not? As of right now, hey, I’m open to still going out there and playing and still doing some of the things that I love doing. Whether it’ll be with the Chargers or not, I don’t know. That’s the question. We’ll see. I’m giving everybody their opportunity.”"

That sounds a lot like Freeney doesn’t think the Chargers want him back next season. If that is indeed the case, should the Colts give him a look?

Considering they signed the corpse of Shaun Phillips  mid-season in an attempt to bolster the pass rush, there’s certainly no reason not to give Freeney a call.

This isn’t to say that they must go out and sign Freeney, but bringing him in for an interview and assessing where he is physically would be well worth the effort. The Colts need a disruptive pass rusher and if they can afford a roster spot for a situational player then he would be an effective piece for the team.

Freeney counted for roughly $4 million against cap last season. That number will come down considering his age and production over the past couple seasons.

Considering the focus on passing in today’s NFL, the Colts spend a fair amount of time in the nickel subpackage. The average time spent in this or a dime package is about 45-percent of each game. The Colts could easily use Freeney in a pure pass rush situation.

Freeney isn’t the answer when it comes to the Colts pass rush problems, but he could be a productive and cheap option at the position.