The San Diego Chargers were pressing hard for Dwight Freeney after losing young 3-4 OLB and quality pass rusher Melvin Ingram to a torn ACL, and the injury sustained by Ingram left a gaping hole in the Chargers pass rush. That hole has been filled by Freeney, who is going to re-join Tom Telesco in San Diego on a two-year deal, as Telesco was an executive for the Indianapolis Colts and also saw the transition of Freeney from a 4-3 DE to a 3-4 OLB. While Freeney is less effective as a 3-4 OLB than a 4-3 DE, he is still a quality pass rusher there and had more pressures, per the Pro Football Focus, than any of the Chargers players did last season.
According to a source close to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, the San Diego Chargers will give $8.75 million to Dwight Freeney for the two seasons he is in San Diego. While that is not a cheap price, it is only $250,000 more overall than what Osi Umenyiora received from the Atlanta Falcons over two years.
The price tag for Freeney isn’t cheap and was never supposed to be, but I believe it is worth it given the Chargers dire need for a pass rusher this season. Ingram will probably recover from his ACL tear just fine, but there’s no guarantee of that. Plus, it would behoove the Chargers to have a pair of quality pass rushers at the position, especially after losing Shaun Phillips to the Denver Broncos this offseason. Jarret Johnson is a quality OLB due to his run defense, but neither he nor Larry English are factors as pass rushers. The Chargers did themselves a favor by signing Freeney due to their need, and I think the $8.75 million in base salary is money well spent.
Per Florio, $4.6 million is tied up in sacks for Freeney, whose contract would pay out a maximum of $13.35 million. The numbers, per the source, are “realistic” based on what Freeney has done in the past, and I would agree with that. Each year of his contract pays out a $500,000 roster bonus in total, with weekly increments being paid out to him. As for his signing bonus, Freeney will be set to make $3.25 million in that regard.
You can read my full analysis of his two-year deal here and how he fits with the Chargers.