The cuts are starting to come fast and furious in the NFL as teams begin to finalize off season plans and continue the shift towards 2013. The latest in the long line of recent cap casualties is former Colts DE Dwight Freeney. Freeney, the 2002 First-Rounder, found himself on the wrong side of an expensive contract as the Colts continue to usher in the youth movement behind QB Andrew Luck. During his 11-year tenure with the team, he racked up 107.5 sacks and 7 Pro Bowl selections.
Dwight Freeney is most interesting for the Dallas Cowboys due to the impending off season switch from Rob Ryan's 3-4 to Monte Kiffin's 4-3. It is a position of need as Dallas has not really had the need to carry a DL edge pass rusher since Bill Parcells made the original switch to the 3-4. The team hopes guys like Demarcus Ware and possibly Jay Ratliff can do the job, but the lack of experience is worrying at best.
In terms of money, Freeney is accustomed to getting paid. According to this Huffington Post report, Freeney was the highest paid player in the league in 2012. If he commands anywhere even remotely close to that number, the Cowboys will not be in the mix. They're likely to struggle to re-sign Anthony Spencer and he will likely command about $10-12 Million per year (especially if franchised). Spencer will still likely be the priority here, as he put up career numbers in 2012. But if Spencer gets away and Freeney comes down a bit in price, Dallas will be in play. At age 33 (his 33rd will be on February 19th), he likely has a few good years left. Playing opposite of Demarcus Ware would no doubt extend his career, facing many less double teams than he has been subjected to for the past decade.
While he is a big name and would fill a big need, Freeney is likely to cost too much for Dallas. They've moved away from over spending on past-their-prime free agents (thank goodness) and will likely look towards the current talent on the roster (Bass, Lissemore, Hatcher) to fill the need. But if Jerry gets it in his head that Freeney could elevate this unit to the next level, anything could happen.
Odds that Dwight Freeney will be a Dallas Cowboy in 2013? 15%
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