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Dwight Freeney still optimistic he’ll sign with Falcons, per Dwight Freeney

One of the best pass rushers of the last decade still wants to wind up back in Atlanta.

NFL: NFC Championship-Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons have an absurd number of capable players along the defensive front at this point, but they may not be done adding to the group.

Dwight Freeney didn’t put up huge numbers for the Falcons in 2016, but there’s little doubt his expertise was useful to Vic Beasley, and he was quietly still a very effective pass rusher. It’s not surprising he’d be interested in returning to a team where he can be a steady veteran leader and part-time player, particularly one that just made it to the Super Bowl a year ago.

With Dan Quinn always looking for pass rushers, it’s not shocking that the team might want Freeney back, too, even if it comes as a mild surprise that they’re this interested after the offseason they just had. The line is truly crowded right now, and while there’s little doubt Freeney is still one of the best pass rushers in that group, it wouldn’t seem to be a priority to bring him back. You certainly won’t hear me complain.

If Freeney does come aboard, the logjam at defensive end gets even more intense, and it increases the chance that someone who would otherwise seem like a lock gets cut. The Falcons can currently roll out Vic Beasley, Takkarist McKinley, Derrick Shelby, Adrian Clayborn, Brooks Reed, Courtney Upshaw, and perhaps Jack Crawford at end, and presumably one of Clayborn, Reed or Upshaw would go to make way for Freeney. If it came down to it, I’d anticipate Upshaw would be that player, but we’re a long way from knowing whether Freeney’s even going to sign, so the question can wait.

How do you feel about the possibility of Freeney returning?