When Osi Umenyiora signed with the Atlanta Falcons for a base earning of $8.5 million, Dwight Freeney was taking notes. Freeney, now 33 years old, is looking for a deal that exceeds that of Umenyiora, who is just 31 years of age, according to a report by Ian Rapoport.
The knee-jerk reaction would be to call Freeney's demands crazy. His level of play was not nearly as high as that of Umenyiora, and the safe money says that Freeney will eventually sign with someone for far less money than Umenyiora's deal.
Here's the kicker, Dwight Freeney isn't stupid. He already knows that, and this is his way of putting off signing until the draft or even as late as training camp.
At 33 years old, Dwight Freeney is no longer a young player, and he realizes this will be his last run as an NFL player. That being the case, he is likely just trying to save his body a little wear and tear by not signing with a new team immediately. He spent eleven seasons in Indianapolis, and I'm sure he's just looking forward to a relatively relaxing offseason after so many years of endless grinding.
Freeney's production has gone steadily south over the past few years, so the challenge will be for him to improve, especially in the pass rushing game. He won't be signed as an every-down defensive end, so he'll have to make the most of the time he has on the field. When he does lower his demanded figure, and he will, that's when you'll know he's ready to sign with someone. If, in the meantime, someone actually offers him a huge contract, he may be willing to sign early for a few million dollars extra.