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Detroit Lions 2017 roster review: Dwight Freeney wasn’t a savior after all

Expectations were high for Dwight Freeney, but unreasonably so.

Detroit Lions v Chicago Bears Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

We continue our 2017 Detroit Lions roster review. Over the course of the next couple months we will review each player that ended the season under contract, check out their role in 2017 and see where they may be headed in 2018.

Today, we discuss defensive end Dwight Freeney.

Dwight Freeney

Expectations before 2017

Freeney wasn’t on the Lions going into 2017. In fact, he wasn’t on any team at all. Halfway through the season, the Seattle Seahawks picked him up, and Freeney immediately cashed in 3.0 sacks in four games. But a snafu with roster maneuvering found Freeney on the waiver wire shortly thereafter and the Lions pounced on the opportunity.

Considering the Lions’ lackluster pass rush, Freeney’s addition was met with optimism and high expectations. We polled the fanbase asking how many sacks they thought Freeney would get in his five remaining games with the Lions. Over 75 percent said three or more.

Actual role in 2017

2017 stats (total): 9 games (0 starts): 3 tackles, 3.0 sacks
2017 stats (with Lions): 5 games (0 starts): 0 tackles
PFF grade: 71.1 (Did not qualify for ranking)

Freeney was as big of a non-factor as could be. He literally did not register a single statistic with the Lions in the final five games of the season, and it’s not like he didn’t have the opportunity. Freeney averaged just over 25 snaps per game, but didn’t even manage to tally a single tackle.

Towards the end of the season, it did seem like Freeney was finally getting comfortable and he did provide some pressure, but overall, it’s hard to view his brief time in Detroit as anything but a big disappointment.

Outlook for 2017

Contract status: Unrestricted free agent

Dwight Freeney will turn 38 in a month, and you have to think retirement is in the cards for the man who currently ranks 17th all-time in sacks. Freeney has had an outstanding career, especially when you consider that 65.5 of his 125.5 sacks came after the age of 28.

But Freeney has escaped retirement several times over the past few years. He considered it back in 2015, before the Cardinals picked him up midseason. He considered it when the Seahawks waived him prior to the Lions claiming him. He’s probably considering it at this very moment.

There’s a small chance the Lions give him another shot next year, but with the Jim Caldwell connection gone and the Lions looking to get younger and stronger along the defensive line, it has to be considered a longshot.

Previously: Tahir Whitehead


Should the Detroit Lions give Dwight Freeney another chance?

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