While most assumed that would be the end of Freeney's historic tenure with the club that drafted him, Dan Pompei isn't so sure.
Pompei reported in the National Football Post that he hears the Colts could be considering making an offer to retain Freeney.
While such a move could have merit, it would represent a significant change in strategy from the Colts. Indianapolis declined to even discuss an extension with Freeney in the offseason, leading to him playing for the bloated final year of his existing contract.
They believe he would have been much more productive if not for a high ankle sprain that bothered him for the first half of the season. And they also noticed their defense was significantly better when Freeney was on the field.
There's no question those things are true. There's also not much debate that Freeney could still have value moving forward. The only question is why the Colts ever let him play for a ridiculous sum in 2012 if they were willing to consider signing him into the future.
Simply put, not even discussing an extension with Freeney last year was unwise.
Some claim the Colts wanted to see if Freeney would fit in the new 3-4 defense before committing to extending him. This is a ridiculous theory as no team pays $14 million for an experiment. That money could have gone to dramatically upgrading the offensive line or defensive secondary.
His play improved as the year and his ankle progressed, he was nearly as effective in the new scheme. According to Pro Football Focus, he picked up nine hits and 34 hurries in 765 snaps in 2012. In 2011, he had eight sacks, eight hits and 33 hurries in 697 snaps.
That's a modest decline that could easily be attributed to his ankle sprain.
The question has never been if Freeney is valuable or if pass-rushers in their early-30s can have an impact. The answer to both queries is yes. The only issue is why Indianapolis made the mistake of paying Freeney full price for 2012.
If the Colts do indeed bring him back, it only makes the mistake of not renegotiating sooner all the worse.
Freeney is the all-time franchise leader in sacks, and the Colts would be well-served in signing him at the right price.
The mistake in not reducing his 2012 cap hit is already made. As long as they can get him back at a fraction of his inflated 2012 price, they'll have done well in correcting it.
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