The San Diego Chargers could be interested in former Indianapolis Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney because 2012 first-round pick Melvin Ingram tore his ACL yesterday. Ingram came off the bench in 15 of the 16 games he played in last season, but was going to get an opportunity to start this season.
Freeney is a seven-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro who led the NFL with 16 sacks in 2004, and ranks 21st all-time with 107.5 career sacks. Freeney’s production has declined the past three seasons, but a change of scenery could rejuvenate him. Chargers general manager Tom Telesco spent the past 15 seasons with Indianapolis as a scout and later became the Director of Player Personnel, so he is familiar with Freeney.
Ingram was not a factor in his rookie season in terms of putting pressure on quarterbacks because he had one sack in 16 games last year. San Diego lost their sacks leader Shaun Phillips in free agency to the Denver Broncos, so Ingram was expected to be more of a factor this season.
The Lighting Bolts were tied with the Cleveland Browns for 23rd with 32 sacks in 2011, but improved and were tied for 11th in this category last season. However, the loss of Phillips at outside linebacker could hurt them.
San Diego uses two outside linebackers in their 3-4 defense and Jarret Johnson is not known as a pass rusher, so if Freeney agrees to a deal, he will have to make up for him in terms of putting pressure on quarterbacks.
Freeney is 33 years old so should he agree to a deal with San Diego, I believe it will be a two-year deal with a starting job at OLB for him to lose in 2013.