Freeney will account for over $19 million of the teams’ 2012 salary cap which, after the dead money from releasing a number of players, makes up over 20% of the teams total cap. Indy has been trying to restructure Freeney’s contract but he only recently hired a new agent.
While it’s hard to imagine him playing outside linebacker next season, it’s going to be difficult for the Colts to trade him at his current price tag.
Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star tweets that the Colts decision to create $38 million in dead money by releasing a number of players in the last week, paired with DE Dwight Freeney‘s 2012 cap hit of $19 million, suggests that he’ll be playing somewhere else next season.
This coincides with previous reports that the Colts are currently shopping him to interested team’s. Changing to a hybrid 3-4 defensive front only complicates the issue further as it’s hard to imagine him being effective in coverage from time to time. Add in the fact that they’ve already begun the process of completely gutting their roster and have begun the process of starting over and it makes sense for them figure out a way to move the Pro Bowl defensive end to a 4-3 team that’s in need of a pass-rusher.
The biggest problem is going to be related to compensation. At 32, team’s are going to be reluctant to part with serious value for an aging d-lineman. Teams like the Bills and the Jaguars who would be great fits for Freeney have high draft picks so even an early second-round pick would be decent investment on their part. His $14.035 million base salary for next season will only complicate things further so the question becomes: