Freeney as a Colt. (Credit: Sports Illustrated)
After eleven seasons as a member of the Indianapolis Colts, pass rusher extraordinaire Dwight Freeney was signed to a two year deal by the San Diego Chargers earlier this month. Freeney has had a more than impressive career thus far, registering 107.5 sacks during his time with the Colts. But when he hit free agency, the interest in Freeney from other teams wasn’t nearly as high as he thought it would be.
“I basically think the owners got together and decided not to spend the cash on free agents,” Freeney told Mike Freeman of 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…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 seems to be 100% serious about these accusations, although he’s a little bit off. Several teams, most notably the Miami Dolphins, shelled out a ton of cash in free agency. Maybe the interest in Freeney was down because he’s on the wrong side of 30 with steadily declining production recently. However, there have been concerns privately from the NFLPA about owners being in collusion. So much so that a memo was sent to the agents of NFL players from the NFLPA urging them to come forward if any proof of collusion is discovered.
As for Freeney, he says he plans to make the 31 other teams that passed on him regret it. His opinion about collusion remains just that, an opinion. But it isn’t outside the realm of possibility.