Dwight Freeney was a godsend for the Arizona Cardinals in 2015.
The veteran pass rusher admitted he was a week away from walking away from football when general manager Steve Keim called in October and lured the seven-time Pro Bowler out to the desert.
He ended up leading the Cardinals with eight sacks in 11 games, helping them to a spot in the NFC Championship Game.
But Freeney was only on a one-year deal. Despite showing he can still get to the quarterback, he remains a free agent in late-May. That could be changing, according to ESPN NFL Nation reporter Coley Harvey.
Harvey reports that Freeney will work out for the Cincinnati Bengals, who open OTAs Tuesday.
If he were to sign with the Bengals, Freeney would have to adapt to their 4-3 base defense. It means he likely would play only in specific sub packages. Such a signing would, in that way, be like James Harrison’s addition to Cincinnati’s defense in 2013. Harrison, then 35, was coming from a 3-4 defense and had some difficulty transitioning to the Bengals’ scheme. He had only two sacks. The past two seasons with the Steelers, however, Harrison has had 5.0 and 5.5 sacks, respectively.
Freeney stated in an interview with ESPN earlier this month that he preferred staying in Arizona, but was willing to move on for a good situation with a contending team.
“Obviously I have some ties there (in Arizona), but you know what, if it doesn’t work out here it could be anywhere,” he said. “It just depends. It has to be a winning team, something that I would love to be a part. I’m used to winning; it’s not great to be part of a losing organization, so for me, if they have a chance of winning and doing some great things, you know what, I’m there.”
With the additions of Chandler Jones and Robert Nkemdiche this offseason, the Cardinals’ pass rush looks to be beefed up for the 2016 season, so Freeney returning would have to be considered a luxury.
- Arizona Cardinals single-game tickets go on sale Saturday
- Bickley & Marotta: A song parody a day while David Johnson is away
- PFF: Arizona Cardinals’ projected O-line near bottom of NFL
- Some Cardinals players aren’t exactly happy about their Madden ratings
- ESPN: Cardinals’ offensive weapons rank among bottom half of NFL