Green Bay Packers: Six free agents they should consider signing
By Kenn Korb
Dwight Freene, OLB, Atlanta
2016 Statistics (539 snaps): 10 tackles, 3.0 sacks
PFF Rankings: 78.3 (overall); 78.6 (pass rush), 47.5 (run defense), 60.0 (coverage)
Freeney is more of a reach than Ware, but all things considered he may actually be the better pick if a veteran pass rusher is the target.
While Ware is younger than Freeney by a few years (34 to 37), Freeney doesn’t have close to the same injury worries with him. Based on their recent contract histories, Freeney would also come noticeably cheaper than Ware: according to Sportrac, his last two contracts didn’t even combine for $2 million, while Ware doubled that with his 2016 base salary alone.
Purely off production, Ware beats Freeney, but those other factors make Freeney the better deal. With his likely low cost, if the team kept Perry, Peppers, or even both of them, there would be little to prohibit them from also trying to grab Freeney (outside of the total snaps available to dish out, but based on the injury histories of Perry and Matthews, that would be a small-scope, history-ignoring worry).
The biggest roadblock to this sort of deal? Well, it seems both Freeney and Atlanta want him to return to the Falcons. In all likelihood, if he does continue playing, he’s going to play there. But there is a caveat to that outcome, one where Freeney would still play this coming year but not on Atlanta. That caveat is that Falcons’ head coach Dan Quinn wants Freeney to make his decision soon.
Quinn expects Freeney to join the team for their OTAs. On the surface, that doesn’t sound like much at all — why wouldn’t players be expected to be a part of team activities? — but for many teams, players have often been given leeway with regards to the offseason. Quinn has decided to be more stringent than most about this however; because of that, there’s a chance Freeney may be able to go elsewhere.
If Freeney does play outside of Atlanta, going to another championship contending team is the logical move, and few teams are positioned definitively above the Packers on the shortlist of contenders.