Dwight Freeney is finally off the free agent market after signing a two-year, $8.75 million contract with the San Diego Chargers. According to Sports Illustrated's Peter King, Freeney was holding out for $6 million per season, which he felt was his market value. His contract with the Chargers will allow him to make up $6.5 million per year, provided he meets incentive goals.
As the SB Nation blog Bolts From The Blue points out, Melvin Ingram's torn ACL likely spurred the deal to get done. The team did well for itself by signing a player who many considered the best pass rusher still available on the market.
There are a few caveats, however. Freeney will be playing mostly outside linebacker in the Chargers' 3-4 defense, not the 4-3 defensive end position in which he has thrived for most of his career. He struggled when asked to stand up from the line of scrimmage, recording just five sacks last season. Hopefully, Freeney will not still be dealing with a high ankle sprain. The Chargers are expected to run multiple fronts, allowing the veteran pass rusher to put his hand down on occasion.
With the signing, the Chargers may not have the cap space to make another major purchase before the 2013 season. The team has been in the market for a starting left tackle, but now appears set to make do with King Dunlap protecting Philip Rivers.