Longtime Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney wouldn’t appear to be a good fit with the rebuilding program in Indianapolis, as an aging veteran due a $14 million base salary. But the Colts say Freeney will be there in 2012.
Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson confirmed at the league meeting today that Freeney will be a Colt.
“Everything with Dwight is great,” Grigson said in comments distributed by the Colts’ PR staff. “He’s going to be here this year. We expect him to be a major contributor and a guy who strikes fear in our opponents and those offensive linemen every week. . . . He’s a Colt, period.”
That’s a surprise. The Colts were talking to other teams this month about trading Freeney, and they’ve signed two defensive ends, Robert Mathis and Cory Redding, to new contracts, which would seem to make Freeney expendable.
But apparently the Colts think highly enough of Freeney, even at age 32 and coming off three straight seasons of declining sack production, that they want to keep him on the expensive final season of his contract. Almost all of his star teammates from the past decade are gone, but Freeney will remain in Indianapolis.