Today, February 19th is Dwight Freeney’s birthday who happens to turn 33 years old. So I figured, in some way of a birthday present (not like he would see this, would be cool if he did) was make a Top 5 list of teams who could use his talents.
Even though his numbers have gone down the past few seasons, Freeney is still capable of being a dangerous player as long as he remains healthy. Every team could use this man’s help when it comes to rushing the passer. Since his numbers have declined, teams could probably get the veteran for a decent contract that won’t eat away at their salary cap.
Of course knowing what the man has done for his former team Indianapolis Colts, Freeney might want a short contract to test the waters of a new team but for a decent amount of money. Being one of the best defensive players to be drafted by and play for the Colts, Dwight shouldn’t have much trouble finding a new home with a team who looks to improve their pressure on the quarterback.
Teams are cutting veterans left and right, saving cap space to prepare for upcoming free agency market that holds some big names. He seems to fit better in a 4-3 defense of a Tampa 2 scheme, so teams who run that type of defense should have Freeney at the top of their lists. Now let’s take a list at teams who I think will be contacting Mr. Freeney in a few weeks.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Dead last when it came to passing yards allowed with 297.4 per game and 29th in total defense with 379.9 per game. The Bucs and their front office have around $30 million in their pocket and have made it known that they are going to search high and low the list of free agents and bring in who they have to, to boost up their roster. The only weakness on this defense was their pass rush, no pressure at all on the quarterback unless it was after the game when the opposing quarterback went to take a knee, then they showed they were ready to hit them and most of the time did. Strong point was their rushing defense, the best rushing defense in the league only allowing 82 yards per game. So it would be a no brainer that General Manager Mark Dominik give Dwight a call to see if he’s winning to relocate to Tampa.
2. Atlanta Falcons - Atlanta last season had a high powered offense, but didn’t really have much of a strong defense, which showed in the playoffs. They had comfortable leads going into half time in each of their post season games but came out the 2nd half and let them slip away. John Abraham, one of their key front lineman suffered a left ankle injury late in the season which bothered him when it was time for the post season. Bringing in Freeney could possibly give Atlanta that boost on defense that they need to survive in the post season and win the conference. Atlanta finished 24th in the league with total yards (365.6), 23rd in passing (242.4) and 21st in rushing (123.2), so adding Freeney, if he can stay healthy, could be a good insurance policy for their defense if something happens to Abraham.
3. Cincinnati Bengals - They have plenty of room when it comes to cap space if they want to offer Freeney a big contract to make sure he signs with them. A strong defense all around, could use another veteran presence like Freeney’s. They finished 6th in total defense (319.7), 12th in rushing (107.2) and 7th in pass defense (212.5) and to me could be the front runner for Freeney when the clock strikes midnight on March 12th. A team that is improving all around, dismantled the former Super Bowl champion New York Giants and made them look like a pop-warner team. They currently have $55.1 million available to play with. Good luck to other teams interested.
4. Seattle Seahawks - One of the heavy favorites in the NFC next year (pains me to say that), I think right behind the Cincinnati Bengals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (going after Dwight Freeney) will be this team right here. They finished 4th in the league with total yards (306.2), 10th in rushing (103.1) and 6th in passing (203.1) and only seem to be getting better. After losing Chris Clemons (torn acl and meniscus) in the wild card round of the playoffs against the Washington Redskins, the Seattle Seahawks really didn’t have any other options when it came to rushing the quarterback, even though they still won. So it would only make sense to go after Freeney to make sure they have more options if they indeed does happen again. Not saying Dwight wouldn’t start, but they wouldn’t have any worries when it comes to pass rushing if one of their young stars gets pulled due to injury.
5. New England Patriots - How could you not include this dynasty? They have always attracted pro bowl veteran talent to help bulk up their roster and make another run for glory. They have around $18 million they could use to shop for some talent to add to the defense, which wouldn’t surprise me if they got a hold of the subject of this article. They do need help when it comes to pass rushing where they were ranked 29th in the league averaging 271.4 yards per game and 25th total defense with 373.3 passing yards. Always Super Bowl favorites in the league, Freeney is familiar with the way New England runs things so he should probably fit in almost immediately without any adjustments having to be made.