Veteran defensive end Dwight Freeney visited the Bengals this week, as the team kicked the tires on possibly adding another pass-rusher. The future Hall of Fame player is looking at playing another year for a contender after still contributing at a pretty high level for the Arizona Cardinals last season.
Per Jim Trotter and Coley Harvey of ESPN, Freeney is leaving Cincinnati without a deal after going through a workout and physical with the club. He is set to visit the Atlanta Falcons next week and mull over his options. He has made it known that he would like to play for a contender to finish out his career.
It doesn't necessarily mean the Bengals won't sign him, even though he left town unsigned. Two outside veteran signings the club made this spring, linebacker Karlos Dansby and Brandon LaFell, took a little time before their deals were finalized, so the same kind of scenario might happen with Freeney. If he is indeed looking for a team with championship aspirations, the Bengals finished 12-4 last year and Atlanta finished with an 8-8 record.
In 11 games with the Cardinals last year, Freeney racked up 8 sacks, one of which was against Andrew Whitworth when the Bengals traveled to Arizona in Week 11. The veteran defensive end spent 11 of his 14 pro seasons with the Colts with recent stops in San Diego and Arizona. Freeney's 119.5 career quarterback sacks rank 19th in league history.
Cincinnati could use additional pass-rushing help. While Margus Hunt and Will Clarke are the high-investment backups, they haven't proven to be reliable rotators in the defensive front yet. Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap are a formidable duo, but Freeney would provide a different style of play on the line to complement their respective skill sets.
It's possible the Bengals continue talks with Freeney over the course of the week and see what kind of offer, if any, the Falcons make. Then more talks would likely resume as Freeney takes the steps to make his decision for 2016.