So, where does this leave Freeney in this whole "new era"? Freeney is a true 4-3 DE. He's never, to my knowledge, played LB. He is not big enough to play the DE position in a 3-4 and if you did play him at DE in a 3-4 you lose everything Freeney is about, speed and finesse off the edge.
I remember the defense before Freeney came along. It wasn't pretty. Probably worse than what we saw last year. We had no one that could rush the passer. Chad Bratzke was the closest thing we had to anyone who could put heat on the passer and he will never be compared to Freeney or Mathis in terms of production.
The new guys will have to get creative with Freeney. I think he still has a few years of production left and he's someone that you just have to keep.