Freeman was a four-year starter for the Colts and played well during his time in Indianapolis, including a career-best season a year ago. The Colts made an offer to Freeman that was close to the deal he wound up signing in Chicago, but the Colts reportedly made an initial offer and, after it was declined, began to move on.
That doesn't speak to general manager Ryan Grigson's opinion of Freeman, however, as Grigson was full of praise for the linebacker while at the NFL owner's meetings last week.
"He's a three-down linebacker, which you don't really see that often anymore," Grigson told Comcast SportsNet Chicago last week. "He can cover and he's a smart player, really understands defenses. He'll be a good fit with [Danny Trevathan] in that system. Good player. He can do it all."
This could simply be a case of Grigson not wanting to speak ill of a player who has signed elsewhere and isn't with the Colts anymore, but his points are accurate: Freeman can indeed do it all. He may not be the best linebacker in the NFL, but he can help a team in a number of areas.
Of course, Grigson's actions speak louder than words, as he let Freeman walk for a rather small contract. It was a curious move, but it's also a situation where we don't know all of the details right now (such as whether the Colts had an opportunity to match Freeman's offer with the Bears, etc.). Regardless of whether the Colts made the right or wrong move when it comes to Freeman, the reality is that he signed with the Bears and the team will now have to replace a guy who "can do it all." That's not easy to do, and it will be interesting to see who gets the nod at inside linebacker alongside D'Qwell Jackson (right now, Nate Irving is the most likely candidate). The Colts will get the chance to see Freeman up close again soon, however, as Freeman and the Bears will face the Colts in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium this season.