COMMENTARY | The job market has rapidly improved for former Indianapolis Colts and current free agent Dwight Freeney. San Diego Chargers linebacker Melvin Ingram just tore the ACL in his left knee during organized team activities, and Shaun Phillips is now with the Denver Broncos, leaving the Bolts in desperate need of a pass rusher. Could we be seeing Freeney in powder blue soon?
As soon as former Colts quarterback Peyton Manning struck a deal with Denver last year, a ton of No. 18 Broncos jerseys popped up all over the Indianapolis metropolitan area. If you didn't know any better, you could easily mistake the Circle City for the Mile High City, given the amount of orange and blue around here.
And while Freeney--or any other mortal--wasn't revered on the kind of pedestal reserved for Manning, he was still a very popular player throughout his 11 years as a member of the Colts. When the Colts released him, plenty of Hoosiers were unhappy.
As No. 93 boards a plane to San Diego on May 15 for a visit, it's not difficult to see why the Chargers are interested in him. They obviously need him--or someone like him. And Bolts general manager Tom Telesco just moved to San Diego from Indianapolis after last season, so if anyone knows how much Freeney still has left in the tank, it's Telesco.
The hitch to Freeney suiting up for the Chargers this fall, however, is that the Bolts run a 3-4 defense--the same type of defense in which Freeney struggled last year with the Colts.
There's also the matter of Freeney's asking price. As I wrote a couple of days ago, he's asking for a lot of money--especially for a 33-year-old with declining stats over the past few years who is likely best suited for a role as a situational pass rusher at this point in his career.
Here's where Telesco becomes an important factor in a Freeney-to-San-Diego scenario, though. Telesco's 15 years in Indianapolis include the entirety of Freeney's playing career. If anyone around the NFL is familiar with Freeney, it's Telesco. A fan has to wonder why San Diego would have the pass rusher on a flight to southern California less than 24 hours after Ingram blew his knee out if Telesco thought Freeney was washed up.
At last count, the Chargers have a little bit of wiggle room in terms of salary cap space, but not a lot. In addition to the weather, the draw to San Diego for Freeney would be to play for a GM who is already a known commodity. The relationship is already established. Maybe for a little less cash, Freeney would be willing to suit up for a guy he already knows well.
And so far, there's no word of free agent John Abraham traveling to San Diego. Freeney gets the first shot at the job. That's an interesting statement right there.
Cam Thomas, you might start thinking about your asking price for the No. 93 on your jersey.
The next few days should be interesting for fans of the Chargers. If Freeney signs with the team, vendors will likely find a healthy market of consumers of his new jersey and a bunch of new Bolts fans right here in central Indiana.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Dwight Freeney
- Indianapolis Colts
- San Diego Chargers
- San Diego
- Tom Telesco