Three months ago, just after the Indianapolis Colts released Dwight Freeney, Peyton Manning reportedly texted him, telling his former Indianapolis Colts teammate, "Don't worry, come play with me in Denver."
Instead, the sack specialist will play against Manning twice a year, as a member of Denver's division rival, the San Diego Chargers.
After an extended free agency period that drummed up mixed interest from a handful of teams, including the Broncos, Dwight Freeney and the San Diego Chargers have agreed to a two-year, $8.75 million deal, USA Today reports. The deal could reportedly pay Freeney $13.35 million over two years, should he hit incentives tied to him remaining on the roster and hitting sack thresholds.
Freeney, 33, spent the majority of his career as a 4-3 defensive end, but tallied only five sacks as a 3-4 outside linebacker with the Colts last year. The Chargers also run a 3-4, suggesting at first glance that Freeney might not be the best fit with San Diego. However, USA Today reports the Chargers plan "to adjust some schemes that would put Freeney in his more natural position as a down lineman."
The Chargers' interest in Freeney peaked after outside linebacker Melvin Ingram suffered a torn ACL in organized team activities this week.
The Broncos' interest in Freeney waned after they grabbed their own sack specialist in April: ex-Chargers outside linebacker Shaun Phillips, who is expected to see time at defensive end in Denver. This free agency soap opera between Manning, Freeney and Phillips has turned into a prequel to the drama that will unfold on the football field in 2013: Freeney will be trying to take down his friend and former teammate Peyton Manning, while out-performing the defender the Broncos chose instead, Shaun Phillips. Meanwhile, Phillips will have a score to settle of his own, playing against his former team.
The time for texting is nearly over. Let the games begin.