New San Diego Chargers player Dwight Freeney thinks he knows why it took him so long to find a team this offseason.
“I basically think the owners got together and decided not to spend the cash on free agents,” Freeney explained. “I definitely think that’s part of it. I think the owners made a pact. There’s only 32 of them and none of them broke ranks. I think they all decided not to spend money.”
An 11-year veteran and three-time All-Pro, Freeney entered free agency following a five-sack season that included a position change to outside linebacker in the Indianapolis Colts new 3-4 scheme.
He planned to let his 107.5 career sacks do the talking during free agency. But no one called.
On May 18, well after the marquee names had signed, he signed a two-year, $8.75 million deal with San Diego. While Freeney’s comment can be viewed as the grumbling of an ageing player past his prime, he’s not the only one saying it.
The NFL Players Association thought something might be up this offseason. NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith sent a letter to his players partially reading:
“We have heard reports of a concern that teams are working in concert to ‘peg’, ‘rig’ or ‘set’ market prices on player contracts. If you believe or have information that the teams have been colluding during this free agency period, you have a responsibility as an agent of the NFLPA to come forward and share that information with us.”
The CBSSports article also quotes what they call a “prominent agent”:
“I’ve been in this business for several decades and there was never an offseason like this. Never.”
The NFL adamantly denies that any collusion has taken place.
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