Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Dwight Freeney Is Colts Franchise Player for 2007 - Indy Star - Mike Chappell
As expected, the Colts have made certain defensive end Dwight Freeney’s career will continue in Indianapolis.
The team has affixed the exclusive “franchise’’ designation to their career sack leader. That assures Freeney a one-year contract in 2007 of at least $8.644 million, and eliminates the possibility of him testing his value of the NFL’s veteran free-agent market in March. Team president Bill Polian says he will now try to work on a long-term deal.
“He wasn’t going to go anywhere,’’ Polian said this afternoon. “I’ve had a good talk with his agent today and we’ll continue to talk.’’
Freeney, Polian added, is “an integral part of this team and we want to see (that a long-term deal) gets done if at all possible.’’
Freeney was the Colts’ first-round draft pick in 2002, the 11th overall selection. He has earned three Pro Bowl berths during his five-year career and piled up 51 sacks. He was limited to a career-low 5 1/2 sacks this past season but posted a team-high 33 quarterback pressures.
As an exclusive franchise player, Freeney is prohibited from seeking a contract offer from another team. He will receive a one-year contract at the average of the top five players at his position at the end of the upcoming free-agent period. The non-exclusive franchise tag would have allowed Freeney to talk with other teams and paid him a one-year contract at the average of the top five players at his position from last season -- $8.644 million. The exclusive tag is sure to bring at least that much.