San Diego Chargers linebacker Dwight Freeney accused NFL owners of collusion, saying that free agency was slower than usual this year.
"I basically think the owners got together and decided not to spend the cash on free agents," Freeney told CBSSports.com. "I definitely think that's part of it. I think the owners made a pact. There's only 32 of them and none of them broke ranks. I think they all decided not to spend money."
The NFLPA in April expressed concern about possible collusion through an e-mail from executive director DeMaurice Smith to player agents requesting that they report any improper dealings with teams.
The e-mail was attained from ESPN Dallas. It read: "We have heard reports of a concern that teams are working in concert to 'peg,' 'rig' or 'set' market prices on player contracts. If you believe or have information that the teams have been colluding during this free-agency period, you have a responsibility as an agent of the NFLPA to come forward and share that information with us."
The e-mail also stated that the union believes some teams are inaccurately reporting that they have salary-cap problems related to signing veterans.
The NFL denied that owners are colluding.
"Player signings in 2013 have been characterized by robust spending and intense competition," spokesperson Greg Aiello told CBS Sports. "Anyone seeing collusion in this market is seeing ghosts."
Freeney, 33, has 107.5 sacks in his 11-year career. Despite that, he said he was surprised how long it took him to get another job after the Indianapolis Colts released him after the season.
He ended up getting a two-year, $8.75 million deal with the Chargers earlier this month.
"What you saw," Freeney said, "were guys getting small deals. 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."
Freeney had 12 tackles and five sacks for the Colts last year.