Despite stories which have surfaced, claiming the opposite, the Indianapolis Colts organization said on Monday that the franchise was not going to trade DE Dwight Freeney this year. That comes as a bit of a surprise given the state of the organization currently and Freeney’s age. Still a productive player, Freeney was a prime candidate to be moved due to the $19 million dollars in cap space he will eat up on a team which is in full blown rebuilding mode.
Colts general manager Ryan Grigson was adamant when speaking to the Indianapolis Star on Monday. “Everyone knows Dwight’s a great player. He’s going to be here this year. He hopes and fully expects to be a major competitor and a guy wh strikes fear in our opponents and offensive lines every week. He’s a Colt, period.”
Something you have to remember. All NFL teams lie and especially at this time of year, heading into the NFL Draft. It’s very possible that Freeney will return to Indianapolis in 2012 but that will mean that Indianapolis will have over $30 million dollars in salary cap space tied up in two defensive ends, Freeney and Robert Mathis. Mathis re-signed with the Colts earlier this month, inking a four-year $36 million dollar contract. Indianapolis is also converting to a 3-4 defensive alignment next season.
It could also be that Indianapolis was unable to find any trade partners willing to take on Freeney’s salary next season. For comparison purposes, free agent DE John Abraham stated he wanted to be paid as a top five defensive end this season, but he found no team will to pay him over $10 million dollars a year. He eventually re-signed with the Atlanta Falcons, signing a team friendly 3-year deal worth a reported $16.7 million dollars. Abraham, will turn 34 in May, Freeney is 32. Abrham has 112 career sacks with 9.5 coming last season. Freeney has 102 career sacks with 8.5 being recorded last season.