Freeney gets first taste of new position

INDIANAPOLIS -- While the Colts await the official start of the Andrew Luck era, earlier Thursday they had a minicamp practice. It was Dwight Freeney’s first time on the field since Chuck Pagano has taken over, and his first time lining up as an outside linebacker in a new 3-4 defense.

Here’s Freeney, via Phillip B. Wilson of the Indianapolis Star:

“It’s going to be interesting. It’s fun right now, at least, just doing something different. I’ve been doing one way for what, 10 years going on 11 years. It’s kind of fun to do something different.

“And you know it’s a proven system. Guys can make plays. We’ll see what happens.”

Freeney said he’s talked to Baltimore middle linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed about the 3-4 system that new Colts coach Chuck Pagano has brought from his days as the Ravens defensive coordinator. Pagano has said the Colts will play a hybrid defense, sometimes in a 3-4 and other plays in a 4-3 alignment.

“They love (Pagano). They love the system,” Freeney said. “They said, ‘You’re going to love it.’ I guess it’s a rush friendly type of scheme, which I love.”

There is still buzz about the Colts looking to trade Freeney. But he’d have to strike a new deal with a new team to reduce the scheduled base salary of over $14 million in the final year of his current deal.

Indy has 10 picks, but three of them are in the seventh round.

Anything they can do to get more and draft players who can help Luck on offense and speed the conversion of the defense would be welcome. Since Freeney is only assured of one more year here and is so expensive, dealing him would make sense.

But as Peter King points out in that piece I linked, the Eagles getting only a seventh-rounder for cornerback Asante Samuel from the Falcons says a lot about the trade market for veterans.

I think it’s crazy, personally. Freeney can still rush the passer. The odds you hit a home run with even a third-rounder that makes the pick more valuable over a career than the three years of Freeney would be worth are exceptionally low.

Freeney said he’s under contract and expecting to play it through.