Once among the best and highest-paid pass rushers in football, Dwight Freeney is now a veteran who needs to take a pay cut to keep his job.
Freeney and the Chargers have agreed to drop his 2014 pay from $3.5 million to $2.5 million, Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego reports. Freeney agreed to reduce his base salary by $875,000 and also agreed to reduce the amount he can earn in per-game roster bonuses by $125,000.
The Chargers have now created a total of $4 million in cap space by renegotiating deals with Freeney, receiver Eddie Royal and outside linebacker Jarret Johnson. Up next may be right guard Jeromey Clary, whose $6.25 million cap hit is high.
As for Freeney, he’s hoping to bounce back at the age of 34 from a season that was cut short after four games because of a torn quadricep. Freeney looked like he was adjusting nicely from his longtime role of defensive end in t he Colts’ 4-3 defense to outside linebacker in the Chargers’ 3-4. That the Chargers aren’t releasing Freeney suggests that they think he’ll be a contributor this year. That Freeney agreed to a pay cut suggests that he knows he’s past the point when he’d be able to command a lot of money on the free market.