NFL Trade Speculation: Teams That Must Make a Move for Dwight Freeney
The Indianapolis Colts are undergoing a complete renovation of their franchise.
Out the door went quarterback Peyton Manning, tight end Dallas Clark, running back Joseph Addai and linebacker Gary Brackett. In their place comes highly touted quarterback Andrew Luck.
Here are the teams that must make a move for Dwight Freeney.
New York Jets
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Why not add one more player to the circus?
The New York Jets aren’t afraid to make a deal. If they believe that acquiring Freeney will create immediate results, they will make this move.
The Jets desperately need a pass-rusher. They sacked the quarterback only 35 times last season. Freeney’s primary role will be getting into the opponent's backfield and harassing the quarterback.
The Jets have been looking for a calming influence in the locker room all offseason. Freeney has been a leader on and off the field since entering the NFL in 2002.
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The Atlanta Falcons are another playoff-contending team that’s desperate for some pass-rush help.
It will be hard for them to pay $14 million to a one-dimensional player, but the front office could spin this move as being the final piece to becoming a true Super Bowl contender.
Falcons fans could envision Freeney as another Michael Strahan—a productive defensive end well into his 30s—with the hope that Strahan wasn’t the exception to the rule.
If Freeney can negotiate a sensible sign-and-trade with the Falcons, this acquisition could be possible.
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I think this move makes sense for both sides, as the Chicago Bears could potentially have the greatest defensive end tandem in the modern history of the NFL.
Freeney fits their defensive scheme perfectly, especially with DE Julius Peppers patrolling the opposite side. Adding another top-flight defensive end to their front-four rotation will equal the talent level of the Super Bowl champion New York Giants' defensive line.
This is a make-or-break season for the coaching staff. Freeney could renegotiate his old contract to free up some cap space that guarantees more money this season and yet still face the same situation one year from now.
San Diego Chargers
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The San Diego Chargers are in desperate need of pass-rush help, but Freeney may not be a true fit in their defensive scheme.
At 32 years old, it’s highly doubtful that he could make a smooth transition from a 4-3 setup to a 3-4, in which he would likely become an outside rushing linebacker.
Chargers GM A.J. Smith might refrain from getting into a bidding war for one of the top pass-rushers available on the open market, and instead draft a young linebacker who could form a long partnership with LB Shaun Phillips.
The Chargers may kick the tires on Freeney, but only if he would have a true role in their defense.
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The Denver Broncos have already signed another high-profile player from the Colts, so why not one more?
That being said, Freeney isn’t the same player he used to be. His sack production has fallen off over the last three years (13.5 sacks in 2009, 10 in 2010 and 8.5 in 2011).
This is all pure speculation because no one knows exactly what John Elway’s next move will be this offseason. If he wants another pass-rusher to line up opposite LB Von Miller, Freeney is his man.
However, the Broncos front office must first hold internal discussions as to whether he’s too old or too expensive to make the acquisition justifiable. Freeney might be a great free-agent addition if the Broncos wait for the Colts to release him before NFL draft.