The San Diego Chargers signed former Indianapolis Colts defensive end/outside linebacker Dwight Freeney to a two-year deal worth $13.35 million last month. Freeney was a free agent for about two months before San Diego’s front office presented an offer to him and his agent.
According to Tom Krasovic of utsandiego.com, Freeney said “I believe the owners got together and decided not to spend the cash on free agents. I definitely think that’s part of it. I think the owners made a pact.”
“I haven’t seen anything like it. There was a lot of take-it-or-leave-it from teams. It was crazy. Even a guy like Elvis Dumervil didn’t make as much money as he should have. He’s in his prime.”
Dumervil led the NFL with 17 sacks in 2009 and was a Pro Bowler his last three seasons with the Denver Broncos. Denver released Dumervil due to a problem with restructuring his contract and he signed a five-year deal worth $35 million with the Baltimore Ravens in March.
Freeney might have a point with Dumervil’s situation, but Dumervil signed with Baltimore, who won a Super Bowl last season, so he probably took less money to play for the defending champions.
When addressing his own situation, Freeney said “It takes one team to start things going, but what was strange was initially there was no one team. I’m going to make them all regret it.”
Although Freeney went from DE to OLB and played with a high ankle sprain for the entire 2012 season, he went from a combined 23.5 sacks in 2009 and 2010 to a combined 13.5 in 2011 and 2012. This is more than likely the reason why there was no immediate interest in the former NFL sacks leader.
Regardless of what happened or did not happen with the owners concerning collusion, San Diego needs Freeney to be productive in 2013 because they lost their sacks leader from 2012 in free agency.