After a game in which Matt Ryan was kept relatively clean in the pocket, the Seattle Seahawks decided to cut ties with veteran pass rusher Dwight Freeney. In his four games in Seattle, Freeney had 3 sacks and showed that he still has something left to offer, making the cut a pretty surprising move.
Naturally, Falcons fans immediately began asking if the team might bring back the veteran. While it may not be imminent, it sounds like he is always on the team’s radar.
As Vaughn McClure notes in his article, there are a few factors that may keep the team from bringing back the 37 year old pass rusher. First, his salary of 1 million would tighten Atlanta’s already thin cap space (currently under 1M left for this season). For a veteran with 10 plus seasons, Freeney’s minimum salary would be 1 million. The team would likely have to make some additional moves (converting salaries to bonuses for example) to create breathing room for this season. It’s not impossible to do, but it could take some time.
Additionally, the Falcons appear to have a nice rotation at defensive end. Players like Brooks Reed, Adrian Clayborn and Takk McKinley are all rotating snaps at right end - where Freeney would likely line up. Signing him now would mean potentially taking away snaps from these players.
That said, there’s always the possibility that the Falcons bring him on and keep him inactive initially. His influence in the locker room was a big factor last year and keeping him inactive would not impede on playing time for the other guys. Given the nature of injuries in the NFL, having a guy like Freeney available would be a huge boost for a team that still has playoff aspirations.
What are your thoughts on bringing Freeney back to the black and red?