Dwight Freeney said on ProFootballTalk Live Wednesday that Peyton Manning is already recruiting him to Denver, where he would join Von Miller, Elvis Dumervil and others on a defensive front that already ranks as one of the best in the league after notching a league-leading 52 sacks last year.
After the Colts publicly declined to offer Freeney a new contract, he is free to sign anywhere in the league. The star defensive end has been with the Indianapolis Colts for his entire 11-year NFL career, where he became the franchise’s career leader in both sacks (107.5), and forced fumbles (44). The 33-year-old’s production has been fading of late however, as he registered only five sacks last year while adjusting to playing in new coach Chuck Pagano’s 3-4 scheme.
Playing alongside Miller, Dumervil and Co might allow the seven-time Pro Bowler to see far more single coverage however, which could lead to both an individual career resurgence and a defensive line that would feature three pass rushers to be feared by every offensive coordinator in the league. Freeney was never the biggest DE, checking in at less than 6’2”, but as a situational edge rusher utilizing his patented spin move he would certainly be a valuable weapon in Jack Del Rio’s defensive arsenal.
Manning hasn’t shied away from recruiting players to join his teams in the past, and many in Denver are hoping he gets at least a couple of the hot free agents on the market to join what is already a good roster in Denver.
If Peyton can pull a John Elway (who recruited another aging defensive end in Neil Smith to join him in 1997) and convince Freeney and possibly even Charles Woodson or Ed Reed to join him for a Super Bowl run or two, he might even cement his status atop the list of best to ever play the position.
After playing alongside Manning for his entire career up until last season, Freeney might be itching for a reunion and a chance to make another run at a championship.
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