Former Cardinals OLB/DE Dwight Freeney has agreed to sign a 1-year deal with the Falcons and will fly down Thursday to complete the deal. The 36 year-old pass rusher posted a team-high 8 sacks with the Cardinals, and did so in just 11 games. He also had a team-high 3 strips and was a defensive leader on a team loaded with talent on both ends.
Although his prime is well behind him, Freeney is a 7-time pro-bowler and is 19th on the NFL All-Time sack list. The Falcons will use him as a third down pass rush specialist, creating a very dangerous attack off the edge when paired with Vic Beasley. Freeney does not offer much else, but he has nearly perfected pass rushing from the outside over his 14 years in the league. His spin move is inarguable one of the best in NFL history, and one look at his 2015 highlights will show you immediately what he will bring to Dan Quinn’s defense this year.
Freeney has had some trouble staying healthy recently, playing only one a full season out of his past five. However, when he is on the field he has performed extremely efficiently. 8 sacks is double what the Falcon’s 2015 sack leader (Vic Beasley) had, which, in just 11 games, proves the veteran still has plenty of potential to contribute to the Falcon’s desperate pass rush.
If nothing else, Freeney will certainly be a terrific mentor to Beasley and the rest of the young defense. Both players have elite first steps and if Beasley can take on Freeney’s trademark spin move, the Falcons will have a pass rush that is sure to improve greatly from last year’s league-worst 19 sacks.