INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -The Indianapolis Colts have signed defensive end Dwight Freeney to a long-term contract that will make him among the NFL's most highly paid defensive players.
Freeney and the Colts agreed to a six-year, $72 million contract that includes a $30 million signing bonus, Freeney's agent, Gary Wichard, said Friday. The Colts also issued a statement saying they had reached an agreement with Freeney, but did not elaborate.
The deal first was reported by ESPN.
The Colts had designated Freeney as their franchise player in February, which would have kept him with the Super Bowl champions for at least one more season. The team and Freeney faced a Monday deadline to sign a long-term deal before this season.
Freeney, a first-round draft pick in 2002, missed the Pro Bowl this year for the first time since his rookie season. He was held to a career-low 5 1/2 sacks while fighting shoulder and leg injuries, the only time he has been under double digits in sacks.
Freeney has 56 1/2 sacks and forced 27 fumbles during his first five seasons with the Colts.
His long-term deal would be the Colts' biggest investment in their defense for what has long been an offensive-oriented team.
Since late 2004, the Colts have signed big deals with quarterback Peyton Manning (seven years, $98 million) and receivers Marvin Harrison (six years, $66 million) and Reggie Wayne (six years, $39 million).
Under the franchise tag, Freeney had been guaranteed $8,644,000, the average salary of the top five defensive ends next season.

Recent NFL Discussions

NFL Top Stories

Thumbnail Seahawks' Season Win Total Prediction Will the Seattle Seahawks win at least 11 games in 2015 after falling short in the playoffs last season?
Thumbnail Packers Season Win Prediction After failing to win the NFC North last season, will the Green Bay Packers get back on track this season?
Thumbnail Bucs vs. Jaguars Free Pick Will tonight's Buccaneers and Jaguars game at 7:30PM ET be high-scoring for preseason bettors?
Thumbnail Broncos welcome 49ers to Mile High City For those who thought the Broncos’ internal quarterback debates were a thing of the past, guess again.
Thumbnail Panthers vs. Titans Free Pick Will the Titans beat the Panthers today at 3:45PM ET and pick up their second straight win in the preseason?
More inNFL Articles  

NFL Team Pages