Morning links: Freeney takes pay cut

Former NFL salary cap guy Joel Corry reports San Diego Chargers outside linebacker Dwight Freeney took a cut in pay for the upcoming season, reducing total compensation from $3.5 million to $2.5 million.

The cut in pay reduces Freeney’s salary cap number from $4.75 million to $3,43,750, according to Corry, providing the Chargers a little more flexibility under the salary cap.

Freeney is anticipated to make a full recovery from a torn quad that ended his 2013 season, and is projected to pair with Melvin Ingram as part of San Diego’s starting outside linebacker unit.

ESPN Patriots beat reporter Mike Reiss offers some good perspective on defensive tackle Vince Wilfork’s request for his release after the New England Patriots asked him to take a pay cut from the final year of his $7.5 million salary in 2014. If released, Wilfork would fill a need for a run-stuffing defensive tackle for the Chargers if he hits the market.

Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer writes that receiver Steve Smith had an offer from the San Diego Chargers, but ultimately chose Baltimore, signing a three-year, 11-million deal. Smith’s wife Angie is pregnant, with the couple’s fourth child due in March, so staying a close flight home to Charlotte was important.

ESPN’s John Clayton writes the Broncos are one of the big winners in free agency.

Chargers safety Darrell Stuckey was principal for the day this week back at his old elementary school in Kansas. Check out the video.