Dwight Freeney believes NFL owners collectively decided to hold money from free agents this offseason, according to an interview with CBSSports.com.
The 33-year-old Freeney, who has racked up 107.5 sacks in his 11 professional seasons, waited an unusually long time to hear from NFL teams about signing. Freeney signed with the San Diego Chargers in May but believes the process should have been much faster.
"I basically think the owners got together and decided not to spend the cash on free agents," Freeney explained. "I definitely think that's part of it. I think the owners made a pact. There's only 32 of them and none of them broke ranks. I think they all decided not to spend money."
Agents and players have discussed this trend all offseason. NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith addressed the issue in an email sent to player agents in April. Smith stated that agents should notify the union if they found proof of collusion.
In the letter, Smith wrote:
"We have heard reports of a concern that teams are working in concert to ‘peg', ‘rig' or ‘set' market prices on player contracts. If you believe or have information that the teams have been colluding during this free agency period, you have a responsibility as an agent of the NFLPA to come forward and share that information with us.”