Dwight Freeney is one of the best available free agent pass rushers in the NFL right now, and has been drawing interest from many teams. It is no secret that the New Orleans Saints have been seeking an effective pass rusher this offseason, so it would make sense for the team to be interested in Freeney. However, when you think about it, Freeney is not really the best choice for the Saints.
For starters, at 33 Freeney is on the wrong side of 30 and after 11 seasons in the NFL there is bound to be some wear and tear to his body. The Saints need to get younger with their defense and while Freeney is still a good linebacker his production has slipped in recent years. Last season Freeney only totaled 12 tackles and five sacks, and the season before that he only had 19 tackles and 8.5 sacks.
With the Saints switching to a 3-4 defense it makes little sense to bring in a player that has spent most of his career playing the 4-3 scheme. Furthermore, last season was the first season Freeney played in the 3-4 alignment and as stated before, he did not really have great numbers.
It was recently reported that Freeney is seeking around $6 million a year and therefore would be way out of the Saints’ price range. The Saints are currently about $1.85 million under the salary cap, so if they wanted to get Freeney, the team would have to get very creative with their roster.
General Manager Mickey Loomis has already restructured a number of contracts and re-signed some players, and there are not many other contracts he could restructure. Drew Brees’ contract will probably not be restructured since it is already back loaded in the later years.
Realistically, the Saints cannot afford to sign Freeney, and with his age and seemingly declining skills, it would not be worth it for the team. The Saints are still holding out for cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, but if and when he signs with the Saints there surely would not be enough cap room to sign Freeney.
The Saints desperately need some help with their pass rush, but Freeney is not the answer. Instead, the Saints should look to the draft for some pass rushers or develop the defensive linemen that are currently on the roster.