Yesterday, it was revealed that Dwight Freeney would not be returning to the Indianapolis Colts for the 2013 season.
MT @acwishtv BREAKING: I have been told Dwight Freeney has been informed the #Colts do not intend to re-sign him when free-agency begins
— Mary Paoletti (@Mary_Paoletti) February 15, 2013
So, with pass rush being a big problem for the New England Patriots, should we look to pick up the veteran DE?
Well, this release probably isn't an issue of health/ability. Colts HC Chuck Pagano switched the Colts from a 4-3 to a 3-4, which really didn't suit Freeney's ability. He is more suited to being a DE than an OLB. This could also be an issue of cap room. It's likely Freeney would feel he's worthy of a lot of money. He's got quite a resume, and has been loyal to the Colts, and despite 33, he's got a few years left in him.
But the Colts are definitely moving into a new era. This certainly started with the Peyton Manning - Andrew Luck transition. They've got a young group on offense to build around (and Reggie Wayne), and they might be looking to do something similar on defense now.
So, is Freeney suitable for the Patriots? Well, we've got a good bit of cap room to work with, especially with the seemingly inevitable release of Wes Welker. But Bill Belichick isn't the kind to throw about money because he has it. And he has tried to bring in guys like this many times, with recent examples being hit and miss - I'm thinking Chad
We play a 4-3 defense now, which is Freeney's favored formation. But with two solid DE's already in place in the form of Rob Ninkovich and Chandler Jones, would we need Freeney. My answer, absolutely. But not as a starter.
After 11 years with the Colts, it's time to move on. The 33-year-old Freeney is an awful fit in the Colts' 3-4 and won't accept a league-minimum deal. A 4-3 team in need of a situational pass-rusher off the edge figures to come calling when free agency opens in March. Feb 13 - 11:50 AM Source: Indianapolis Star
I believe this is exactly what the Patriots need. Ninkovich, while recording sacks last season, is definitely a better run stopper, and Jones also showed good signs against the run, and caused a bit of havoc in opponents backfields before his injury. However, when in passing situations, it was clear they didn't quite have the ability to get to the QB.
Enter Freeney. A man who still probably haunts Tom Brady's dreams, joining a winning team, hungry for a second ring, sent out to do what he does best: get QBs. Pass rushing was an unavoidable issue for the Patriots last season, and Freeney is definitely a guy the Patriots should try and get, even just as a situational guy. If he can prove he's still got it after an off year in a wrong formation, then I don't see how you can't.
One issue would be the money he would look for, and there are a lot of teams who'd be willing to meet it. But we've given guys a lot worse than Freeney bigger contracts, and the fact we're always in the mix will tempt Freeney. Dwight Freeney to the Patriots certainly looks good on paper, so if it was me, I'd certainly take a shot. The Patriots need game changers, and Freeney can be that.
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