The most crucial circumstance in Dwight Freeney's trade having not taken place yet lies on overvaluation. Teams are not afraid of the large cap hit that would ensue with the trade. Those things are easy to workout with a simple restructuring of a long-term contract. There isn't a team running the 4-3 in the NFL that wouldn't want the services of a premium edge rusher. The fact that he's in the twilight of his career (32 years) does limit mega-deals from occurring but, doesn't negate them completely. I'm sure the asking price is too high at this current point, a first rounder most presumably, considering the Colts want maximum value. And, rightfully so they shouldn't settle for peanuts from a guy who given offensive coordinators headaches trying to game plan around him. My personal belief is after the madness of free agency comes to an end, the teams that may not be in position to grab a top tier rusher in draft will become desperate. This seem to happen every year, last year we watched desperation kick in between the Eagles and Cardinals for Kevin Kobb's services.
The longer the Colts holdout the more it will benefit us in the long run. We may not end up with a first for him but, a 2nd and 4th aren't out of the question. Even if the remote possibility occurs that we're unable to move him. The worst occurrence from it I see is we adsorb the cap hit and hang on to him this year, not a biggie. For the Colts (a team in transition) keeping a large contract on the books for a year wouldn't be the end of the world. A similar situation took place last year with Mario Williams and that worked out fine for the team and him. After the jump we'll take a look at the best fit for Freeney's services.
Here are the top 5 teams I presume to be landing spots that would give us the highest return rate...
Here is a team that is quite familiar with going up against the perennial pro-bowler. Over the course of many Brady vs. Manning battles, Belichick has seen first hand the trouble he causes for his offense. By turning enemies into an allies he acquires the ability to pressure opposing quarterbacks that he didn't have last year. Even thou they're straight off a Super Bowl appearance, New England realized how difficult the Giants came to be with their lot of defensive ends. Being that the Patriots again hold a number of selections throughout the draft, this could be a good partnership. Here is a team that could be one piece away from a championship and with him surely may put them over the top.
A team whose become accustom to how well ex-Colts can perform for them (Raheem Brock). Last year they had a reality check within their division courtesy of 49ers, that is if you want to win you better be prepared to play great defense. The Hawks are doing a nice job of building a squad of unrecognized names, who will be known shortly to the entire league. Still, if they want to takeover and contend for championships, veteran players like Freeney should be circled on their list of needs.
The Browns under the help of Mike Holmgren are beginning to change the philosophy in Cleveland. Typically seen as one of the bottom dwellers of the league. They now have the ammunition to turn around their team thanks to moves made by Atlanta trading up to select Julio Jones. It was recently reported after losing out on the bidding war for RG3, the focus will be to surround Colt McCoy with the talent he needs. Even with two selections in the first round they may not be in position to obtain enough guys to solidify both their offense and defense. A name like Dwight Freeney might sound a lot better than the others that will be available in the following rounds.
New coach Joe Philbin is said to be switching the defense from a 3-4 to a 4-3. What better way to ease that transition than to get one of the best edge rushers in the league. A move that maybe prompted by the Bills acquiring Mario Williams recently. Already in one of the toughest divisions, desperation moves like these are needed to compete with the big dawgs. Depending on how much heat they feel from missing out on coach Jeff Fisher and most likely Peyton Manning too, picking up Freeney could be a okay consolation prize for fans. By the way, they received a couple of 3rd round selections in part from the Bears for Brandon Marshall, they could definitively be used to sweeten a deal... Who knows?
Now, the last thing you want to do as a franchise is trade a player in your own division to someone you play twice a year. However, if things get interesting between the Colts and Jags I could see this happening. For years Jacksonville has attempted to find someone who can pressure QBs, only to fail time and time again. Being in the top ten of this years draft there may not be an end worthy of the pick. And, by the second round the best of the bunch could be gone. Also consider this, anything you can do to weaken your opponent while strengthening your club is a wise decision. They could be willing to put together a great offer on the table but, knowing the player Freeney is do you want him attacking our new quarterback?
In conclusion, I believe new G.M. Ryan Grigson will do whatever is best for the future of our franchise. Possibly he surrounds Andrew Luck with protection and weapons in the upcoming draft, while correcting the defense next year (my personal choice). On the other hand, getting the best player available isn't a bad decision either. Whatever your take maybe, we all know next year won't be pretty. The best/worst thing that could happen for us is winding up with the first selection again. And, if that's the case, a team would surrender a butt load of picks for Matt Barkley. We'll have also freed up a ton of money for free agency next year. So, here's to the future, cheers....