By Brady Henderson
Wednesday’s edition of “Cold Hard Facts” included more – you guessed it – speculation about which NFL free agents could be playing in Seahawks uniforms next season.
The latest name was a big one: Dwight Freeney, one of the league’s most prolific pass rushers. With the Seahawks intent on beefing up their pass rush, Clayton called Freeney an “intriguing” possibility.
Dwight Freeney, a seven-time Pro Bowler, is set to become a free agent. (AP)
“I don’t know at this stage if anyone knows what kind of market Dwight Freeney has. He didn’t have a great season necessarily in the 3-4 defense, and he’s getting a little bit older,” Clayton said. “But boy, when you talk about a great defensive end who can rush the passer, fit in a 4-3, this fits into that category.”
As Clayton suggested, Freeney’s 2012 season – a down one by his standards – makes it difficult to gauge what kind money teams will be willing to throw his way. He had five sacks, less than half of what he had averaged over the previous four seasons. His 12 tackles represented a career low.
Any team interested in Freeney will have to determine whether that dropoff in production had more to do with his advancing age (he turns 33 later this month) or his adjustment to a new position. Freeney, a defensive end for the first 10 years of his career, moved to outside linebacker as the Colts switched from a 4-3 to a 3-4 last season.
Chances are, it was a little of both. But regardless of the reason, the fact that Freeney will be 33 and coming off a down season should significantly lower his price tag. Freeney’s 2012 base salary was more than $14 million, a number he won’t come anywhere near matching in free agency.
If the price is reduced enough, Clayton could see the Seahawks jumping in.
“If you’re John Schneider and you’re Pete Carroll, you call Dwight and say, ‘Listen, if you’re going to get big money in free agency, God love you, we support you 100 ways. But if indeed you struggle a little bit and need to take a little bit of a flier on a team, look at this team,'” Clayton said.
And the interest would be mutual, Clayton believes, partly because of the advantage that Seahawks pass rushers have while playing in the din of CenturyLink Field.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if Dwight would consider coming to Seattle because I do think it’s an attractive team that is good for a pass rusher,” he said, “and if you’re looking to get into a championship situation, this would be the team to come to.”