Dwight Freeney Free Agency Rumors: Multi-year deal likely required

Dwight Freeney - USA TODAY Sports

Free-agent defensive end Dwight Freeney appears likely to have multiple suitors, which means he could be in line for a multi-year contract.

Free-agent defensive end Dwight Freeney said Wednesday that playing for the New York Giants would be a "dream." In reporting that story I wrote that Freeney, a seven-time Pro Bowler is "the perfect replacement for -- and possibly even an upgrade from -- [Osi] Umenyiora."

Today, let's take a look at what a pursuit of Freeney might look like if the Giants are interested (which we don't know), and how realistic it is that Freeney could join the Giants.

Brad Wells of SB Nation's Colts web site, Stampede Blue, is not surprised by the Freeney to the Giants speculation:

Well, for a month I've been saying that he'll sign with NY. It just makes the most logical sense. Yes, he is still a good player, especially if he is being used as a situational guy in a 4-3 front. He's not a linebacker. He can't drop into coverage, and he's pretty useless shedding blocks or holding the edge on run downs. As a rusher off the edge in a three-point stance, he is still a very effective player. The Giants are the most obvious team for him. His family is from Connecticut. His father used to call in WFAN all the time, especially when Dwight was at Syracuse. He's also better than Osi was in the situational role.

He will not take a one-year deal. Three years with some pretty decent guaranteed money. Nothing like his salary for 2012 ($19 mill), but Dwight will want commitment from the Giants. If not, he'll get it somewhere else.

Wells is likely right about that. It is apparent that Freeney will have multiple suitors. Reports have already surfaced that Peyton Manning is trying to recruit him for the Denver Broncos, that Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy has expressed interested and that Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has made a pitch to Freeney.

CBS Sports expects that "The line to sign Freeney likely will be a long one." CBS added that the 33-year-old Freeney "is known for his tremendous work ethic and staying in shape. It's likely he has a solid three years left playing at a high level."

So, what is it going to take for the Giants -- or any team -- to sign Freeney?

In discussions with a variety of sources on Wednesday it became clear that teams would probably prefer a one-year deal with Freeney. With the number of suitors, however, it seems likely that a multi-year contract is going to be required to obtain the services of the seven-time Pro Bowler.

In 2012, defensive end John Abraham signed a three-year, $17.7-million deal with the Atlanta Falcons that included $4 million in escalators, bringing the potential total above $21 million. Abraham, a four-time Pro Bowler, was 34 at the time. Freeney, with the market apparently flush with potential suitors, could command a similar contract.

Is that something the Giants would -- or even could -- do? The Giants currently have about $4.5 million in salary cap space, with a rookie class to sign and a number of decisions to make about their own free agents.

Freeney to the Giants seems to make sense on the field. Whether it makes financial sense remains to be seen, as does whether or not the Giants will join the bidding frenzy.

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