Former Indianapolis Colts pass rusher Dwight Freeney will sign a one-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons, ESPN’s Adam Schefter and NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported this afternoon. According to Rapoport, Freeney choose the Falcons over the Bengals - meaning he had options.
Last year Freeney showed that he can still produce in the NFL, as he recorded eight sacks and three forced fumbles in eleven games with the Arizona Cardinals. Despite being 36 years old, Freeney is capable of being a productive pass rusher for an NFL team. He will be a good fit in Atlanta, where he will team up with Vic Beasley to help the Falcons’ pass rush.
In his career, Freeney has played in 194 games and has recorded 119.5 sacks and 47 forced fumbles to go along with 319 tackles and 16 passes defensed. The bulk of his career came with the Colts, who drafted him in the first round of the 2002 NFL Draft. Freeney spent eleven seasons with the Colts, playing in 163 games and recording 107.5 sacks and 44 forced fumbles. In seven of his eleven seasons with the Colts Freeney recorded double-digit sack totals, he was a seven-time Pro Bowler, and a three-time first-team All-Pro while in Indianapolis. For several years he was the most dominant pass rusher in the NFL, dominating opposing offensive linemen with his famous spin move. The Colts let him walk after the 2012 season, however, and he signed with the San Diego Chargers. After two seasons in San Diego he then found himself signing with the Arizona Cardinals midseason a year ago, where he played really well.
There were plenty of fans who wanted the Colts to bring back Dwight Freeney, though that never seemed likely to happen. The Colts are looking for younger players that they can develop, and they have a few intriguing candidates in camp such as Earl Okine, Ron Thompson, and Curt Maggitt. It’s not the level of Dwight Freeney by any means, but the Colts stayed out of the Freeney sweepstakes likely due to the younger talent they want to develop. Now, Freeney will be signing with the Atlanta Falcons where he will continue his career as a pass rusher.