AFC South: Freeney, Gabbert and Britt

AFC South: Freeney, Gabbert and Britt
February 10, 2013, 8:45 pm
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As we're now well into the NFL off-season (even though it sometimes feels like it doesn't exist) it's time to start preparing for the 2013 season.

The Texans won the AFC South with a 12-4 record but the Colts weren't far behind. The Titans and Jaguars struggled in 2012 but stand a chance to be much improved in 2013.

Here's a quick look around some of the biggest stories around those three other AFC South teams as we sit in the middle of February.

Retiring as a Colt?

Dwight Freeney has played all 11 of his NFL seasons as a member of the Colts but his time in Indy might be running out.

Freeney, 32, will be an unrestricted free agent this off-season but wants to remain with the Colts.

"It would be great to finish off my career as an Indianapolis Colt," Freeney told NFL.com. "I've been there my whole career, and I don't know anything different. ... Ideally, it would be great to stay there. But it is a business, so we'll see. Right now, I'm just thinking about Indianapolis until they tell me otherwise."

Freeney just finished the final year of his six-year contract. His base salary was over $14 million in 2012 with a cap hit of over $19 million. Those days are over for Freeney.

As NFL.com points out, Freeney spent the first 10 years with the Colts flourishing as an end in the 4-3 but isn't really suited to be a 3-4 'backer. In 2010, his last season in the 4-3, he had nine sacks and a ProFootballFocus grade of 25.2. In the last two seasons, he's had 13 combined sacks (not bad) but two negative grades from PFF, which is a pretty good way to rate a defensive lineman's effectiveness.

So will Freeney be back with the Colts? Maybe, but only if the price is right.

Building around Gabbert

The Jaguars were one of the worst teams in the NFL in 2012 and will be rewarded for their efforts with the second overall pick in April's draft. But don't expect them to jump and take a quarterback too high.

According to the Florida Times-Union, general manager Dave Caldwell plans to build the team around Blaine Gabbert.

“That was his second year," Caldwell said about Gabbert. "What were they saying about other quarterbacks after their second year? We’re looking for improvement [in his third year]. We need to build around him. We’ll upgrade whenever we can upgrade."

Another interesting tidbit from Caldwell is his openness to trade away the No. 2 overall pick. But they worked so hard for it!

“There will be some trade partners that may want to come up, but you have to have a trade partner in order to trade down. So as we get closer to April, we’ll find out who’s going to be a viable trade partner and who are the players that we’re really keying in on," Caldwell said.

Will Britt be elite?

The word elite is tossed around too much. And it doesn't really matter who's elite and who isn't. It's all a matter of opinion and more importantly perspective. But what the heck, it's fun.

And Randy Moss thinks that Titans' wideout Kenny Britt can be one of the best in the game if he stays out of trouble. Remember, Moss also thinks he's the best wide receiver in NFL history, so maybe take this with a grain of salt.

"I can't really speak about it because I have been into trouble off the field myself," Moss said during Super Bowl XLVII week in New Orleans to USA Today. "But from what I have seen Kenny Britt do, man, if he gets his mind right, Kenny Britt can get up in elite class very quickly. I am a big fan of his.

"Kenny Britt is a young receiver who can get in that A.J. Green, Julio Jones mix if he wants to and does the things to make it happen. But his is more mental than it is physical. I hope it works out for him because he is quite a talent. That guy could be special."

Britt has shown signs of being a great NFL receiver but he's also shown signs of being a time bomb, just waiting to explode and prematurely finish his young NFL career.

Britt caught 45 passes for 589 yards and four touchdowns. His first two seasons in the league were his most productive statistically. If anything, Britt's legal troubles might be felt in his wallet. This will be the final year of his four-year rookie deal -- he'll make $1.347 million this year -- and teams might be hesitant to dish out big bucks to a guy with his reputation.

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