Seahawks Insider Blog

Why Seahawks are reportedly courting a seven-time Pro Bowl pass rusher as old as their defensive coordinator

Atlanta Falcons pass-rushing specialist Dwight Freeney played against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 51.
Atlanta Falcons pass-rushing specialist Dwight Freeney played against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 51. AP

RENTON Pete Carroll can never have enough pass rushers.

And the Seahawks really miss Cliff Avril.

Those are the two reasons Seattle is reportedly interested in free-agent edge rusher Dwight Freeney.

Dave Mahler of KJR-AM radio in Seattle was the first to report Monday the former Indianapolis Colts seven-time Pro Bowl defensive end was in town and scheduled to visit Seahawks headquarters Tuesday to take a physical and possibly join the Seahawks for at least the final 10 games of this regular season.

Avril, one of Seattle’s Pro Bowl defensive ends, may not play again this season or ever. He is deciding whether to have neck surgery and is on injured reserve.

Michael Bennett, Seattle’s other Pro Bowl end, is playing through a plantar-fascia injury in his right foot. He is barely practicing but is expected to play again Sunday against Houston.

Freeney was a perennial double-digit sack machine for the Colts: 13, 11, 16, 11, 10.5, 13.5 and 10 were his sack totals in seven of his first nine NFL seasons. Thing is, those were in the early 2000s. He was born when Jimmy Carter was president. That was in 1980.

Yes, he’s 37 years old--the same age as Seahawks’ defensive coordinator Kris Richard.

Freeney last played in January and February. He chased Russell Wilson in the NFC divisional playoff game his Falcons won over the Seahawks in Atlanta. Freeney had three sacks in 15 regular-season games last year for the Falcons, then another sack in Super Bowl 51 in February, of Tom Brady in New England’s win over Atlanta. The Falcons let his contract expire after that game. He hasn’t played since.

Freeney has 122.5 sacks in his 15-year career. If he signs and re-enters the league, that would be second among active players behind Julius Peppers.

He would be a situational pass rusher for Seattle, perhaps 10 or so snaps a game. The every-down role Avril used to have is currently Frank Clark’s. Marcus Smith, Quinton Jefferson and Branden Jackson are Seattle’s other defensive ends.

That is why the Seahawks are interested in seeing what Freeney may have left.