The Seattle Seahawks are looking to beef up their pass rush once again this offseason after adding Bruce Irvin via the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft last season. Irvin gave the defense a big boost in 2012, sacking the quarterback eight times and Seattle will try and get another contributor this offseason. But where will they find it? If they don’t see an option they like in this year’s draft, could free agent Dwight Freeney be an option?
Adding pass rushing to the defense took an even greater urgency for Seattle this season when leading sack-man Chris Clemons went down with a torn-ACL in the Divisional Round of the playoffs against the Washington Redskins. Seattle relied on Clemons, who recorded 11.5 sacks in 2012, for their pass rush. After him, Irvin was second on the team with his 8.0 sacks, but no other Seahawk defender had more than 4.0 sacks, leaving a void of sack-production that Pete Carroll and company will have to fix.
That makes Freeney, one of the most prolific pass rushers in the NFL throughout his career, a very intriguing option in free agency. The Indianapolis Colts are expected to part ways with their long-time sack-artist after a disappointing 2012 season. As Chuck Pagano continues to transition Indy to a 3-4 defense, Freeney becomes less of a natural fit for what they want to do.
Now at 33-years old, Freeney hits the open market following one of his worst statistical seasons in his career. He had just five sacks, less than half of what he averaged over the previous four seasons, and a career-low 12 tackles. Whether that dip in production was due to the change to a 3-4 defense or Freeney’s advanced age, the doubts are out there, and it could be just the thing to make the price right on the defensive end for Seattle.
Freeney has made a living rushing the passer off the edge in a 4-3 defense. Seattle counts on bringing pressure with their front-four and allowing their linebackers to drop into coverage. Freeney could come in and flourish coming off the edge in passing situations. The boisterous 12th man at Century Link Field gives Seattle pass-rushers an advantage against offensive tackles. That extra half-second could give Freeney the head-start he needs to enjoy a rejuvenation late in his illustrious career.
The price will have to be right for the Seahawks to bring Freeney to the Pacific Northwest next season. If the defensive end finds a less than favorable market in free agency, however, don’t be surprised to see him bringing the heat off the edge next season for the Seahawks defense.