General manager Tom Telesco and the San Diego Chargers will be looking to free up some cap space after a valiant first season and a playoff ride which wasn’t expected so immediately under the new management. Telesco is going to want to build off his rookie year as general manager and will need to adjust a few contracts in order to be a player in free agency.
With that being said, Dwight Freeney should know what’s coming. The veteran will cost the team $5.125 million against the cap in 2014. If he is released from the Chargers, he would only cost $1.625 million against the cap. That would equate to a savings of $3.5 million that can be used to sign current free agent Chargers, such as Donald Butler or Darrell Stuckey or a much needed cornerback. With Melvin Ingram healthy and run stuffer Jarret Johnson ready to line up on the outsides, the soon-to-be 34 year-old Freeney would likely be an expendable candidate.
Recently on ESPN radio with Scott Van Pelt and Ryan Russillo, Freeney had this to say:
“I just want to make sure I end it the right way,” Freeney said. “That means I’m not fighting an injury and limping off of the field — making sure that I don’t have a bad taste in my mouth when I’m saying, ‘You know what, I’m done. I’ve accomplished everything.’
“I’ve won a Super Bowl. I’ve done the Pro Bowls. I’ve done the top in sacks and all of that stuff. I just want to make sure that when I’m done, I can say, ‘You know what, I’m done and it’s been a great ride.’”
Freeney also acknowledged the great management and coaching staff in San Diego. If this is a message that Freeney is open to re-negotiating his current contract, chances are he will be back to finish his career with the Chargers and hopefully the way he wants to go out — on his terms.
If unwilling to re-negotiate his contract the Chargers will likely release Freeney and look to a different and cost effective direction to fill in at second string and pass rusher. At 34 years old and near the end of his career, Freeney should think wisely of a team’s willingness to take a risk on his aging skills. The best outcome would be if he stays true to his word by finishing his career his way regardless of the cost or the status.
That would result in win-win for both the Chargers and Freeney.
Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images
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