After paying a visit to the San Diego Chargers earlier this week, free-agent defensive end Dwight Freeney finally signed a two-year deal with the team worth $8.75 million. Freeney, who spent the first 11 years of his career with the Indianapolis Colts, is still a pass rusher that can cause havoc to offenses, but is in the twilight of his football days.
The signing of Freeney comes at a good time, considering the fact they are in need of some pass-rushing help. Just this week, Chargers linebacker Melvin Ingram tore his ACL in minicamp, leaving San Diego’s linebacking corps a bit thin.
Though Freeney spent the majority of his career playing defensive end, he did play outside linebacker last season when the Colts switched to a 3-4 defensive alignment. Freeney did struggle to the defensive adjustment, tallying only five sacks.
I understand the Chargers’ urgency for another pass rusher, but I do question this signing a bit. Freeney thrived as a hand-on-the-ground rusher from 2002-11 with 102.5 sacks, and is now expected to produce in a scheme that is somewhat foreign.
The only way for Freeney to have the same impact that he did while with Indianapolis is if the Chargers tweak their defensive scheme so that the former Colt could be effective.
No one should really expect Freeney to put up big numbers while in San Diego. He definitely will be a solid addition, but thinking that you’ll see the Freeney who was in his prime while playing in Indy won’t happen — there is no way of teaching an old dog a new trick.
Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google