Report: Colts agree with DE Freeney on $72 million deal

Jul 13, 2007 - 6:53 PM BRISTOL, Connecticut (Ticker) -- The Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts have apparently made defensive end Dwight Freeney the highest paid defensive player in NFL history.

ESPN.com reported Friday that the three-time Pro Bowler has agreed to a six-year, $72 million deal.

According to the report, Freeney's deal includes a mammoth $30 million signing bonus.

The Colts' franchise player, Freeney and the club had until Monday to hammer out a long-term deal. Had that not happened, Freeney and the Colts would have been forced to settle for the one-year tender at $9.43 million.

"To have me paid among the top players in the league - not just as a defensive players - means a lot of me," Freeney told ESPN.

"(Colts general manager) Bill Polian is the one who drafted me. I was hand-picked by him. He was going to do the right thing for the organization."

The deal by Freeney is worth more annually than the eight-year, $80 million deal that cornerback Nate Clements signed with San Francisco earlier this offseason.

A 2002 first-round pick who is known as one of the game's best speed-rushing ends, Freeney has registered 56 1/2 career sacks and forced 27 fumbles in 74 career games.






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