We got the news last Friday that the Colts were going to let their all-time franchise leader in sacks, Dwight Freeney, test the 2013 free agency market. Freeney got a write-up on Colts.com, some public praise from owner Jim Irsay (he called Freeney a future Hall of Famer), and a "seeya later" from the organization.
Freeney is gone, folks. The next time we see him with this franchise could be the day when they sign him just so he can retire a Colt.
Letting Freeney walk is different than how the franchise released Peyton Manning last year. For starters, Manning was still under contract, having just signed a multimillion dollar deal in 2011 only to get cut immediately following that season. With Peyton, there were real, legitimate concerns that he would never play again, or, if he did, his surgically-fused spine would get broken on the field of play.
Freeney, unlike Manning, does not have similar medical concerns.
That said, it's obvious Freeney is not the player he once was. 2012 was his worst year, statically, for a full season of work. He also missed two games with an ankle injury sustained Week One against the Bears. However, the ankle was not the primary reason why Freeney had only 5 sacks 12 combined tackles from the OLB position in 2012. Freeney simply did not look comfortable in Chuck Pagano's new "hybrid" 3-4 defense. In fact, to call the defense a "hybrid" is a bit misleading. If you watched Colts games last season, pretty much every time Freeney was on the field, the Colts aligned in a 4-3 front.
What Letting Dwight Freeney Go Means For The Colts
Stampede Blue | Feb 18