January 30, 2017, Houston: Falcons Dwight Freeney takes a question on Super Bowl Opening Night on Monday, Jan. 30, 2017, at Minute Maid Park in Houston. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Freeney to become unrestricted free agent

Freeney, 37, wants to play a 16th season in the NFL, according to a USA Today sports report, which cites an unnamed source.

Vote: Who stays or goes on Falcons defense

Freeney played 415 defensive snaps (37.4 percent) for the Falcons last season and had three sacks in the season and one in the playoffs. He was credited with helping to develop second-year outside linebacker Vic Beasley, who went on to lead the league in sacks with 15.5.

The Falcons are going to see how they can improve their team through free agency in the draft and then perhaps double back to Freeney, who had a great exit interview with the team.

“He made his way by to state exactly how he felt about this team,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. “He was very positive about the team and over the moon so to speak about Dan Quinn and his approach and the coaches’ approach here.”

There have been several changes to the coaching staff since, including Bryant Young replacing Bryan Cox as the defensive line coach and Marquand Manuel moving over to defensive coordinator to replace Richard Smith.

Freeney, a seven-time Pro Bowl selection, has 122.5 career sacks. He played 11 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, two with San Diego, one with Arizona and Atlanta.

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